Waning Gibbous

when searching for a long lost book, one should always have a chance encounter with a librarian, who in a random act of kindness gifts you a map showing all the fake books which really open secret libraries of magic and victorian pornography. or accidentally on purpose finding the bookshelf which swings open to reveal The Great Library in all its glory, containing every book ever dreamed of and a giant tortoise named Alexander who follows you around with a weighty tome upon his back in which to write requests. and when you get tired you can sit on his back while you finish that story you never got to the end of.


This is going to be boring, ok?.

Carrie and I are now just putting everything on hold. Carrie got really stressed about school, and then she started thinking about us, and then she got a yeast infection, so she called her sister Emily who told her "I think you should tell Mike that you need to take some time away to have your own space" (or something like that) then I came over, and she had papers piled all around her and was stressing. She started telling me how much I mean to her and that she's crazy about me, and loves being with me, but that while that's happening she feels like she's at a time in her life where she wants to be single and have time alone and be with different people when she wants. She's coming out of a 2-year relationship that was lingering around when I came into the picture. I really wasn't expecting to hear all of this when I came over, I was only interested in saying hi, and then I wanted to go to bed. This whole thing with us has gone pretty fast, but I've really dropped a few things just because I was excited about being with her. She's done the same, and it's causing frustration and other problems with her. What sucks is that now she and I are on a pretty loosely-defined hiatus. Supposedly this will last for a month, or about the rest of our time at school. This will involve us not calling each other as much, only maybe seeing each other once a week, or with other people, and us seeing other people. Yeah, this is confusing for me. I didn't want this to happen, ever, but I also don't want to go out with her if she's feeling trapped by the whole situation. I'm all for being in a great relationship that's going to go somewhere right now, but I can't ignore the problems she's having with the situation enough for them not to be a problem for me, too.

So, Carrie told me she wants our status relegated down to "Dating". Carrie said she's incredibly happy with me and she said "I Love You". It's great to hear that, and as much as she believes that, it doesn't sound so cool hearing that while you're being dumped. There isn't anything about me that she wants or needs me to change. She's left me messages, and emailed me already telling me she misses me but that she feels like we made the right decision, and she doesn't want me to hate her. I don't know whether it's the right decision, but I don't hate her, and I just miss her a lot and it sucks. I have seen her ex-boyfriend become somewhat of a sap to her emotions. I can't really relate this to anything except for the movie "Dogpark" which wasn't that cool, but I feel like that actress what's her face. Fuck a duck, life is complicated. I think this is going to turn out all right though, and maybe it will turn out really great : )

For You Know Who,

I hope you have found what you are looking for.

it's just one of those days.
sitting around thinking of you listening to eighties music
not the shit that pervades the universe and that hive of annoyance known as school
'come on eileen' and its gay carnival atmosphere, or 'i want to know what love is'... i want you to shut the fuck up. your line fills me with disgust...

but the good stuff

you know
the childish, deceptivelybrilliant New Order whinging with which one can empathize
"whenever i get this way i just dont know what to say why cant we be ourselves like we were yesterday?"

the depeche mode sort of generality, not knowing any specific problem but knowing that life is crap.
the devo "you're all so fucking stupid, we're making fun of you in song and you're dancing to it" that sums up so much of how i feel

you're probably going to read this; i hope you don't feel bad. i've just been off. the rest of my family says it's sleeping... that i sleep a few hours when i get home and then i stay awake until 0 or 1 am. doing nothing and everything, learning small amounts of the subjects i want to learn and failing the rest
not caring helps a lot, you know?
april. in like a moderately decent occurence, out with suck.

i haven't been able to hear your voice in so long,
we haven't even been able to speak via these cold impersonal textboxes that everyone else seems to not curse

That song keeps playing in school... I'm at the conclusion that there was no Adam. the way they 'sing' those shitty lyrics

they're faking it. it's all just cliches. and i hate it.

whose sick joke is it to play a song about suicide in a school where so many are fucked up and sad and a child took his life last year.
it got me angry.
i dont usually get angry, but it just rubbed me the wrong way

the day before yesterday it played twice in a row between periods. do they expect us to keep or sanity, nay our lives, long with that sort of shit?

it's okay
had a bad day
hands are bruised from breaking rocks all day

"rebellion is impossible in a society in which there is no directional force to oppose"
-me, trying to sound clever
I got up at 4:30am this morning to observe an old Oxford tradition - greeting the May Day dawn. I went down to Magdalen Bridge and watched the college choir stand on top of their stone tower and sing hymns as the sun rose, like they've being doing for God knows how many hundred years. And as the sunlight crept down the tower from the choir to the people watching below, the mists cleared and the moon set and the birds flew circles round the tower as the bells rang out to welcome spring.

Of course the effect was completely spoiled by the 5,000 other people who had also come to observe the ceremony - most of them a bit drunk to convince themselves that getting up at 4:30 in the morning really was a sensible idea, and one idiot who decided it would be a really good idea to jump off the bridge into the river (so observing another old Oxford tradition). Still, nature made the effort!

Now it's 6:30am and I've 4 hours before any sane people start doing normal things like lectures. Or I could always go out and join the Morris Dancers around their maypole.

Just as I write this a rogue choir has started singing on the roof of this building. Better go out and look!

What a Perfect Day.

Oh, God. I am in the Jack Chick pamphlet called "He Didn't Think Wicked Retahded Would Be All That -- So He Stayed Home".

I have missed our Woodstock.

Well today is rather busy as I have to get papers turned in and such. Not much in the way of being able to do anything easily about it.

The power of the whole thing is overwhelming.

The stated case is quite interesting and at the same time colored with what could be called a great difficulty.

I plan on doing some noding and I shall make a severe attempt.

I also notice with dismay that my daylog entry has been downvoted. I take this as very bad form.

Look at that sun, it's like a pad of butter melting into mashed-potato clouds.

Not really.

Look at those flowers: bright purple flames shooting out of that tree.

They don't look anything like flames. They look like goddamn flowers.

Explosions. Tiny purple explosions.

Flowers. They are bright purple, startling when you look up from gray cement and see them blooming out of dark green, but they are clearly not pyrotechnic in nature.

You're right, I'm tricking myself into believing my own bullshit again... thank God I have you.

You're not Holden Caulfield. You don't want to be him.

That's true as well. You are spot-on today. I should be happy that I am able to deceive myself enough to get by.

You deceive yourself more than enough to get by. You think you're obsessed with truth, just because it's on your mind a lot, but you're faking even that. Maybe you ARE Holden Caulfield.

It's interesting, though, about the flowers. They are just flowers, that's true, but people don't understand it if you just say it to them like that. They look up "flowers" and cross-reference it with "purple" and they see that the meaning is filed somewhere under "dull" and they're content to believe that you just made a coherent statement but they don't bother to really think about what you're talking about.

What the hell are you talking about?

I'm saying you have to fly in under the radar. You can't just describe something in plain, flat detail, that's not how people see the world. People contort what they see around their own beliefs, their own context, you know? And everything anyone says to them has to be contorted in the same way, according to the same code, or they either misunderstand or just don't get it. So you gotta speak their language. I don't mean language as in "English," I mean their emotional language. You have to say the flower is an explosion or somesuch because then they really think about it. Part of it is just shocking them, making them cautious. It's about grabbing the attention. Then when they really think about it they realize that the flowers-as-explosions idea really appeals to them, if they're on the same wavelength as you, and they really get it.

So it's about flying in under the radar and grabbing the attention...

Yeah, I'm not explaining it too well but give me a break, I'm freestylin'. So this is poetry I'm talking about. The only problem is, it's not platform-independent. If you say "I saw a purple flower" anybody who speaks English will have a basic, non-emotional understanding of what you're saying. But you gotta be careful with poetry. You have to make your words full and alive, the way people see the world, without committing too much to a particular viewpoint. For a long time I didn't understand poetry, but now I think I'm having kind of a revelation.

Have you ever considered that maybe you still don't understand poetry?

Of course. You're my subconscious or something, after all. Or maybe you're that Slim Jim I ate earlier.

If I'm your subconscious, and I'm telling you that the flowers look nothing like fire or explosions, you should probably believe me, no? If that concept doesn't appeal to me, it clearly isn't part of your "emotional language" or whatever. You're just bullshitting again.

I never claimed to be a poet, but I can try... maybe those comparisons are unsuitable, but they were the best I could come up with.

You probably heard it somewhere and were just repeating it.

Maybe. Let's drop it, this endless introspection is exhausting. In fact, would you mind just going somewhere else for a while?

Eat me!

"It is not the critic who counts; not the one who points out how the strong person stumbles, on where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself or herself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he or she fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his or her place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

-Theodore Roosevelt

Today marked the last day of the "Calm to Alms" I had staged to raise money for E2. On the line: one beloved node titled Butterfinger McFlurry.

I decided to put forward the challenge to E2 on a whim: the regular discussion of the merits and stupidity of Butterfinger McFlurry was in full swing, when the following notice appeared above the Other Users list:
"Don't like a writeup? For only 1000 USD, you can have it killed. For 10000 USD, it will be painfully killed! Hurry - this one-time-offer expires at the end of this month."

What could I lose by trying something out? I'll be honest: I wasn't that fond of Butterfinger McFlurry a month ago. I wouldn't have wept if it were to be destroyed. I put it all on my homenode, I catbox advertised a bit, I donated my 10 dollars, and that was that.

Then the hate messages started. Boy, some of you are nasty.

I decided soon after they started to pour in to allow both sides of the debate to add in their "two cents" and see where it went. Very soon, the point for me became very far removed from the node in question, but instead came to making sure E2 had some cash flowing in. Looking at the stats for the month, I see that almost half the the money raised in April came from people who, at the very least, mentioned the Call to Alms that I had created.

Here are the results:

Donations to kill: $205.00

  • 10.00 - Derfel - Towards the "Call to Alms" to kill Butterfinger McFlurry, of course. Nothing personal.
  • 2.00 - sabby - Donated $2 to nuke that there butterfinger mcflurry there node.
  • 20.00 - The Oolong Man - The Oolong Man says YES to nuking McFlurry.
  • 10.00 - unperson - I, unperson, say no more of the tyrrany that is Butterfinger McFlurry. CURSED NODE, FROM HELL'S HEART I STAB AT THEE!!!
  • 10.00 - Apatrix - I pledge another $100 if *I* get to kill McFlurry.
  • 70.00 - ascorbic - this month's alimony is dedicated to the fiery death of BMcF
  • 50.00 - Catchpole - lets get rid of mcflurry
  • 10.00 - cbustapeck - Kill (the first writeup in) Butterfinger McFlurry! Please?
  • 3.00 - sabby - Please nuke that there Butterfinger McFlurry node. Oh you know you want to. (This should make the number an even multiple of 5.)
  • 20.00 - Wuukiee - TAX REBATE!! A thank you to E2 for more great times, to natchlucid for being such a swell hostess for my first-ever nodermeet, and oh, yeah, chalk this up to killing that bloody Butterfinger bullshit.

Donations for status quo: $350.11

  • 50.00 - QXZ - Finally, a donation. Primarily to save Butterfinger McFlurry from ignominious deletion, but also to mark my one-year E2 anniversary. Thanks for everything.
  • 10.00 - c - This is Cletus's contribution to the "SAVE THE BUTTERFINGER MCFLURRY" fund. Nuke whales, not nodes!
  • 20.00 - Chris-O - Chris-O says Thanks for having E2 around! and please also keep Butterfinger Mcflurry around.
  • 25.00 - Anonymous - NO-one had better TOUCH Butterfinger McFlurry, or I'm gonna PELT 'em with BALLISTIC HEFFALUMPS with POWERPUFF HENTAI TATTOOs. I swear. Really.
  • 25.00 - iceowl - In that McFlurry is what the E2 community wants as the public manifestation of its art--my vote is it stays.
  • 10.00 - Cletus The Foetus - This is my second of what I hope will be a monthly pledge to e2. Also, you better keep Butterfinger McFlurry or you'll be hearing from my representatives.
  • 0.11 - czeano - czeano sez: interest from paypal... LONG LIVE TH' MCFLURRY! KILL MOJOE'S TOILET SEAT WU!
  • 150.00 - anonymous - Please mark this down as a vote in favor of Butterfinger McFlurry.
  • 60.00 - Walter - Save the McFlurry! This is my yearly donation. See my homenode for related long-term profit plan.

Was it a dumb idea? Most likely. Is a simple (and rather humourous, now that I see it more clearly) node really worth all the trouble I went through? Probably not. Did I raise awareness about the kind of money that E2 could be seeing each and every month if people donated only a small fraction of their life savings? I like to think I did.

As a final note, I'd like to thank donfreenut. Being the insensitive prick I am, I didn't consult him before I put his node on the chopping block. We chatted about it, and he turned out to be a rather entertaining and understanding fellow. I have reserved my first C! for him... grin

EZ say HO!

One of those days.

The morning was an interview with a company in the Waterloo area. I had high hopes for them. It turned out to be a cramped office, with no partitions or offices. Just the kind of thing that Peopleware warns against.

The interview was a programming test. It annoyed me for several reasons.

Firstly, I was shown to a laptop with a normal mouse attached. I hate laptop keyboards. Before starting I detached the mouse in order to make room for a normal keyboard, and used the laptop mouse left-handed.

The spec was intentionally vague: At one sentence I asked “what’s this supposed to mean?” and was told “It’s part of the test – you work it out”.

For example, there was a description of 4 different data formats. After that, small print saying in effect, to ignore all except the first one. In retrospect, it was based on childish, underhand tactics.

They insisted on a paradox table. I have never used paradox before, and spent half an hour working though unhelpful error messages.

At the end I was not in a very good mood. When shown the desired solution, my reaction was instantaneous: “Bollocks” I said. It was a obviously crap design choice that I had dismissed out of hand earlier.

The evening was better – Jeff Mills in techno concert at the royal festival hall. The first opening acts was Mechanics of Destruction: A guy who made a frightful mess breaking stuff, sampling it and loping it into techno rhythms. His tracks were standard anti-globalisation polemics (e.g. “McDonalds” he announces, an a happy meal is produced. Sounds are made by banging it against the mics and binning the burger. The noise all sounded the same, and what it lacked in structure it gained in volume. His (literal!) deconstruction of TV was arguably the best – lots of hard surfaces for the hammer to hit.

After the debris has been swept up, a guitar & synth band called supercollider came on. They were Ok.

This was followed by a screening of Metropolis – a fairly short edit of this move, well synchronised to Jeff Mill’s soundtrack. The techno-loving audience gave a cheer for each up-tempo piece.

After that, Jeff took to the decks to DJ live, which was wildly popular. There was dancing in the aisles, and periodic stage invasions were thwarted by the bouncers. His style of techno is less minimalist than what I have heared under the “techno” label in Cape Town. I woulkd love to hear him DJ a dance venue where I can like, get down.

This ended at 11:15pm or so, and on home to bed.

The 2002 May Day celebrations/protests in central London were a good-natured and overwhelmingly peaceful affair, despite the dire warnings of the Metropolitan Police, repeated ad nauseam throughout the mainstream media; the police insisted that they were expecting a hard core of a few hundred protestors intent on causing violence. "They're saying to people 'get involved', and that sounds sinister. Put together with our intelligence, it sounds even more sinister," claimed one high-ranking and widely quoted officer.

There were two main foci for the protests this year: The TUC (trades union) march, which in a historically significant move was this year combined with the Globalise Resistance march; this went from Clerkenwell Green to Trafalgar Square, and had the police's approval. The other focus, drawing all of the police impatience, was the area around Mayfair, where anarchists and others wishing to protest independently of the big organisations announced their intention to hold a traditional May Fair and a collection of other smallish events: A Critical Mass bike ride in the morning from Camden Town to the American Embassy at Grosvenor Square; a travelling circus, with stilt-walkers, clowns, fire eaters and all; a giant game of football on Oxford Street; a wake for capitalism...

We arrived at Green Park tube at around one o'clock; there were a few people milling about, some of them with obvious intentions to protest, but no mass movement of people, so we picked a road that would lead us roughly towards the middle of Mayfair. We passed a couple of small protests - perhaps half a dozen or so at each - and picked up some 'Mayday Festival of Alternatives' leaflets from one of these. The leaflets listed the various events planned for the day (and surrounding days - the Festival of Alternatives officially lasted from the 26th to the 6th) - but it gave little idea of where or when they would take place, presumably because the police would stop them given half a chance.

After a little more aimless wandering about, we suddenly heard the first signs that people really were turning up for this thing in large numbers: The sound of running and shouting drew our attention to a nearby road, where we could see police and protestors sprinting towards an unknown destination. We joined the stream, running for a while, chilling out a bit as we caught up with a crowd. Together now in a large unit of people, we tramped through the streets in what was starting to feel like a real march, albeit one with no fixed destination. Every now and then a cyclist would return from a scouting mission with news that the police were trying to block off the road ahead, and the crowd would change direction down a side road, or even turn back on itself. This was an attempt - largely successful - to prevent the police from repeating their tactics of previous May Days, of trapping hundreds of people behind police lines without food, water, toilets or explanation for as long as possible. Although they are currently being sued for wrongful imprisonment after they used this approach last year, nobody imagined that this was going to stop them from trying it again, and indeed a couple of hundred people did eventually get hemmed in for a few hours in the Piccadilly area later on in the day. It's hard to be sure of the details, but it looks as if what violence there finally was may have kicked off after this; it is, of course, a predictable consequence of trapping hungry, thirsty people for hours on end (especially without explaining your reasons) that some of them will want to smash things when they finally get free.

At its peak the crowd we were with must have been a good few thousand strong - impressive, considering the meeting point had been 'the general Mayfair area'. After an hour or two of walking around with them, changing direction sporadically, avoiding large groups of police, kicking balls around, we stopped at a Burger King to use their toilets. We lost the throng at this point, and headed for Trafalgar Square to see how the official demonstration was going. The Square was not exactly packed, but the turnout was not bad; several thousand people had turned up to unfurl their trade union banners, wave their red flags and listen to a range of speeches on subjects relevant to the Left: The familiar failures of global capitalism and Tony Blair's 'New Labour' government, news on the union movement, the ongoing war in Afghanistan, and so on. In one of the fountains, a band of naked men did their bit to promote public nudity.

Once we had had enough of this, we set off again to rejoin the troublemakers elsewhere. We found that the traffic going along Shaftesbury Avenue had been blocked by cyclists and revellers, with Dean Street next door turned over entirely to carnival use. Drums and small sound systems bust out their beats; a few hundred people danced in the streets. Soon we set off home to rest our weary feet.

Back in Archway, I tuned into the Channel 4 news expecting to hear the events of the day distorted into a frenzy of crazed anarchists smashing things for fun, as is the usual way of these things; to see a protest reported on at all, and not depicted as a violent mess, is almost unheard of. Yet I switched on my TV to find a news item which actually presented some of the arguments of the demonstrators in a reasonable light, and acknowledged that the protests had been overwhelmingly peaceful with a positive atmosphere and only the occasional minor scuffle. This has left me, if not optimistic, at least hopeful that future peaceful protests may be reported for what they really are. I take my hat off to Channel 4.

My colour pictures from the day are online (along with this report) at - my pictures and accounts of May Day 2000 and various other events are there too, if you follow the links. I will put my black and white pictures of this year's May Day online when they are ready.

May day, may day.

On May 1st all (regular) stores are closed here in Norway. The kiosks and video shops are open of course.
On this particular May 1st, I had no food. I had to go to one of these parasitic places and ended up paying about $4 for a litre of milk, and $8 for a horrible foodstuff called Pizza Grandiosa, which tastes awful and has an even worse aftertaste.

The moral of the story is: Do your shopping on April 30th!

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