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First we managed 7 days, and then we managed.. what, 9? Now we have to do somewhere around 75. Christ. How can I start this?

I guess it's indicative that even now, sitting down with the express intent of writing some kind of valedictory daylog, and having even thought about what I want to say, I can't motivate myself to type it. But let's not go there yet. It's boring.

Far as I can reckon out, being in love, is a strange thing. Sure, all my radical are already, but. I read somewhere on here that wisdom cannot be written down. That stayed with me.

There's a lot I will never node. From my unwritten epic on the e2/french revolution connection, (who's Danton?) to my hours of darkness contemplating the noding of all 108 Michaelangelo sonnets, to musings on intrusions on personal dignity and photography and dentistry that I could never quite sculpt into cogent enough of a thought to call it node, to my brief determination to do a thorough job on a load of Georges Brassens. I have another quest idea, but the likelihood of it not getting done by someone else in the next few years seems very slim.

Going about your daily life, you know how you run several mental processes at once. You're thinking about the person you're meeting for lunch, you're also mulling that book you finished last night, you're pondering that big issue at the back of your mind, you're probably trying to work out the person you're currently talking to. It's interesting, because I find that almost all of my mental processes and machinations are obliviated by the immense and constantly significant epiphany that this is all that matters. It's a very interesting phenomenon.

E2 has been my sole hobby for about 18 months. I've assimilated between 10 and 15 people directly. One thing it took me a while to realise is, everything is more TV. I'm not rigourous enough to learn from it, so I stagnate instead. Another was that the community of e2 is as such a surrogate, or even just as valid a replacement for real interaction. I've noticed that generally, the more I have to do, the less I am here. Draw whatever conclusions you like about empirical evidence here. Perhaps, the more self-respect you have, you less you care about, etc.

So, I'm going to India now. To an extent, I won't detail what has passed, because I needn't. I'm scared, of course, because transience because human nature because uncertainty, because three months is a long time, but, but. My inner platitude whispers to me that it'll be alright. So do my close friends who've been here too, and that I value rather more. Hope. Hope.

So, this isn't goodbye at all, because I don't think I'm that big. When I'm writing a 2000 word essay every week, I wonder whether I'll try to get the cheap respect of strangers for it here, and I think that perhaps I will. I've realised that I've learnt more about myself and other people in the last 4 months than in any other period. Now, e2 should be the reason, and e2 isn't the reason. Perhaps a little disillusionment has sprung from the realisation that a degree of acceptance has been offered me despite mediocity.
Sadly, it's so plain that e2 means nothing that it's difficult to dress this up as insight.

I awoke with a start, still in a mild panic. I blinked a few times, slowed my breathing, and reverified my surroundings: at home, in bed, morning sun shinning in the windows, wife next to me just beginning to wake up. Thirty seconds before I'd been in a very different situation: night, hotel room, ex-girlfriend naked on the bed, me terrified because we'd just had sex and I knew my wife would be both heartbroken and homicidal. The night before I had been able to fend off some random dream-skank using my wedding ring as a shield. This time I hadn't had chance to do that - we were just suddenly naked in bed together, just after the act.

I suppose it was my own fault. I had been in the mood two nights running, but had gotten my wife into interesting discussions which had lasted until we were both too tired. Geek boy + geek girl + deep philosophical topic = "It's what time?!?" Oh, well. We talk about everything. So, as we lay there, both of us scraping the crud from our eyes, I told her about my dream.

As I finished, she put on a shocked face. "So, you dreamed you had sex with another woman?"

"Well, yeah."

Shock melted into lost and grief stricken, "While you were asleep... IN OUR BED?!?"

She worked in the trebling lip and chin stutter, before we both busted up laughing.

I’m kind of sick of hearing about Jayson Blair.

Sure, what he did was wrong, and he should be fired and never work as a journalist again. And that’s the end of the story, or should be, but we keep hearing about it, which is not much more than an excuse for the "liberal" media to pile on one of the few major media outlets which is still even remotely liberal, the New York Times.

What happened isn’t the end of the world for journalism or The Gray Lady. Let’s put some things in perspective. Blair faked stories, a rightfully unforgivable journalistic sin, but in the end those faked and plagiarized stories changed nothing. He didn’t change the course of any wars, political careers, anything. And though this obviously makes the Times look bad, as it should, let’s consider what the newspaper really could have done. Sure, factchecking could always be more rigorous at any publication, but there’s only so much you can do when a trusted employee sets out to deceive. Remember that Stephen Glass created fake websites and voice mail boxes to cover his lies. What’s the solution- assign two reporters to each story: one to report and one to report on the reporter?

That idiot Mickey Kaus over at Slate is convinced that affirmative action is to blame for this fiasco. If only the Times hadn’t hired that unqualified black guy, he laments. That idea is beneath contempt. He doesn’t say that Stephen Glass’s faked stories are a reason to stop hiring white reporters.

To prove that God has a sense of comedic timing, Glass’s novel has just been published. He seemed somewhat contrite on 60 Minutes, though you never can tell with a pathological liar.

Speaking of books and plagiarists and liars, it’s another occasion for me to be annoyed that journalistic liars like Glass and Blair are pelted with rotten vegetables on their way to the pillory, but historians like Stephen Ambrose who plagiarize get pelted with Pulitzers. I’d feel bad for Glass and Blair, but I’m sure their own book deals will console them enough.
I used to work for IBus when it was a fully owned subsidiary of Maxwell Technologies under the name IBus/Phoenix because Maxwell was trying to squeeze synergy out of the coupling of Phoenix Power Systems and IBus. Maxwell gave up on IBus and intended to close it down but the VP of engineering and his friend who was also my supervisor asked if they could buy it. They asked me to continue working for the company and I agreed, but this was before they told me they were moving to San Jose. I refused to commute from San Diego and allow them to pay 30% of my salary to me as travel and living expenses.

I looked for a software engineering job for three months but discovered that most hiring companies were looking for people already pigeonholed in a specific technology. My expertise is broad and I think that's why no one was interested. Abbot Labs interviewed me and then forgot about me, refusing to answer all my inquiries about what the problem was. They had five guys interview me and they all said I was great. I went back for a second interview. But after that, neither me nor my headhunter could get any info out of them.

Finally I got my current job implementing XQuery with RainingData using Java. It's a lot of fun. It's the first time I worked for a company where I didn't quickly become the one who knew the most about what we were doing. It's nice when there's someone there besides me who is supposed to be able to answer the tough questions.

I had written a complicated management system for a product line of IBus. Now they're calling me because they don't know how to use it. I tell them to read the docs I wrote, but they won't read them until I say "Oh, I don't remember that - you'll have to look it up in the docs I wrote." Then they send me the docs I wrote. Ok, there's a bit of exaggeration in there. Anyway, I hope they take me up on my offer to fly up and help them for a weekend. I can make a lot of money that way. All I can get for spending a half hour on the phone with them every day is a good talking to from my supervisor and dirty looks from the guy I share an office with.

A friend of mine runs a little consulting business on the side and he's asked me to help out a few times. Since I tend to solve problems in my sleep, I don't like charging by the hour. Instead, I tell him what I think it'll cost and he agrees or talks me down. We're good friends and I'd help him for free if he really needed it, so we don't have much of a problem in that area. He was looking for a job too and landed one with Amgen in Thousand Oaks. Since we have no family there, I'm not applying like he suggested.

I'm currently working on two pieces of a job he got, and apparently neither of us is sure exactly what the 2nd piece requires. This is the black art of consulting. Your client won't pay you to listen to them try to explain what they want you to do, and unless you spend the time to nail that down, you can't bid the project. I guess once the client is established, they feed you enough work that you don't really care that you aren't getting paid a good 20 or 30 percent of the time. But I think if the company is big enough, they'll realize the value of that on-the-fly design work that you have to give them for free and start exploiting it. So I've spent about three hours working on figuring out what that 2nd piece of the work involves and sent the details of my two theories to him. My friend said he might have to go back and talk to the client.

Montecarlo told me that my writeups make more sense as parts of a whole while some of them, by themselves, don't really stand up on their own. I've been pondering this. I think it's just fine. When I realized that the easiest way to view a list of writeups in order of reputation is to look at the list of writeups from one noder, I realized something important. Everything is made up of people, and they are the most wonderful thing the web has to offer. I thought it was information, but it is not. How could I miss this important fact? I met my wife on the Internet. I don't think she's an E2 reader yet, but I'm working on her.

I had fun picking phrases out of my daylog to hard-link. I suspect that quite a few will lead to nowhere, but consider them as invitations to write. This reminds of something I read a long time ago (probably in the E2 FAQ) about justifying nodeshells. I also remember reading that it isn't a really good idea to hard-link for emphasis, but there's an aspect of that with which I disagree. If the word you chose to write is especially appropriate, it's kind of neat to give the reader a simple way to go see what has been written about it. Besides that, many single words have at least one writeup that is really fantastic.

"Whas at?" RunningHammer asked during a late breakfast this morning as I put on Scarlet's Walk.





Then from his highchair between mouthfuls of blueberry yogurt told me to stop dancing while I kneaded the herbed parmesean french bread.

It's been like that with us this week, and I'm sure it will be the same next week. My new three-off/four-on work schedule jives nicely with the family schedule, although I have to get up at 3:30 a.m. to do anything for myself. On my off days I'm in charge of getting the big boys up and out to school. Then it's just me and the little guy for the rest of the day, with whom I've not had not as much one-on-one time as I'd like.

Do we ever really have the time we want with our children? I'd like to shrink myself to a vapor and meander in the dreams of each of my guys, to squash the nightmares they don't speak of, to help them become the heores they are, to change the positions of the stars in their sleepy skies to form private constellations of their unique happiness.

So RunningHammer watches Elmo and waves to the garbage and recycling men in their big, noud tucks (loud trucks). He jumps fearlessly in to the pool. Pool fun!! Squirrels paralyze him with amazement. Kwirrl! KWIRRL!! He pushes his tiny weight against me on the couch to read Robert the Rose Horse. I'll doze on the floor as he holds my hand through the slats of his crib and sets sail for napland.

I'll rise and while he sleeps I'll sketch nude studies of his mother for future paintings and warm some coffee and chop some veggies for dinner and know that this time is a gift slipping through my fingers like molten gold.

Today I am 23.

Birthday wishes:

  • A new body. One that doesn't already seemed used and second-hand. With a stomach that can digest food in a normal way, with weight modification happening in response to food rather than a constant 112 pound stick. One without mysterious side pains that send me into panic attacks at night.
  • Mind/Body Creativity Focus. This can be expressed in me actually accomplishing something, like finishing any of the dozens of novels I've started. Or starting a forward-looking experimental band. Or suddenly coming across enough money to buy the technological and commerical space needed for my reality modification devices.
  • That my cat, She-Ra would stop twitching her ears and being driven insane by it. That I could reverse time and choose not to drop the anti-fleat POISON on to her neck, thus causing the twitches. That I could afford to take her to the vet, and that I was philisophically, morally, and responsibily prepared to deal with her being ill.
  • World Peace? C'mon already.
  • A new house, preferably in SE Portland that I can afford, that will also afford me a private space to call my own, away from people's ears and eyes, so that I may concentrate on my artistic work without the embarassment of making strange noises into a microphone while my girlfriend reads a book on the couch.
  • To feel like I was at all suited for this world. That the things I learned while young had actual bearing on reality. That a social network existed that would prevent me from going insane, that was also outside of the mass social apperatus that is driving me insane.
  • A DV Camera.

...And I think about life and I think about death,
and neither one particularly appeals to me...

Watched the original series Star Trek episode "Catspaw" this past weekend, for the first time in decades. Actually, it's the first time I've watched a TOS episode in God knows how long. I realized for the first time that:

If you're not a Trek fan: the series frequently contains scenes where William Shatner's character uses his musky man-charms to get information out of an alien woman, nuzzling her while she utters breathless lines like "Why? Why do I react so strangely when you touch me?" and he says, "Because I am a man...and you...are an attractive woman." Then he starts asking her about, I don't know, the head alien's powers, things of that sort. James Bond of course did stuff like that all the time, but he's a spy; lies, manipulation, and betrayal are all in his job description. But I wonder if many ship's captains in this day and age have to resort to these strategems? I have a hard time picturing Admiral Poindexter rubbing himself up against some South Seas native girl to persuade her to give him the keys to the hut where his men are held captive.

Unintentional hilarity came in the scenes where we are inexplicably treated to lengthy reaction shots of henpecked villain Korob in very, very tight close-up staring directly out at the viewer. His eyes would bulge, his face would shake, and he'd bellow things like "I HAVE THE POWER!" in this weird off-kilter way that doesn't seem to connect with anything else. Like it's obvious he's alone on a sound stage and his instructions are to stare into the camera and act really upset, then yell his line after a few seconds.

Oh yeah, plus Chekov's wig.

Catspaw has never been an episode I particularly liked, not even when I was nine. But now I wonder if even the ones I remember as being good were actually lame and I just don't know it yet. I'm almost afraid to watch the show now lest I find out that "Balance of Terror" is just as goofy.

Trip Like I Do

It came up the other day that a friend of mine might want to eat some shrooms as part of their birthday celebration. Somebody mentioned that the one thing you have to make sure of when ingesting psychedelic fungi (or any mind altering substance, really, for that matter) is to be with a group of people you feel comfortable with and that no one wanders off alone. While I generally practice safe and responsible drug consumption I have to make note of one particular time where going off on my own and having a completely internal trip was the most supremely sublime experience I've had.

A friend of mine's parents were throwing her a giant graduation party in the woods of Connecticut. We arrived early and spent most of the day frolicking by Salmon River and eating hot dogs and hamburgers listening to music and hanging out with her family and the hundred plus people that came by in shifts. Sometime near midnight most of the drifters had meandered back to their homes and the fifteen or so of us that were left happily decided to drop some acid. Due to a jolt to the back of the guy with the dropper I ended up with a good three drops of liquid on my tongue and the rest is hardcore-trippin'-in-the-woods-history.

I spent the next ten hours in one of those caterpiller sleeping bags that bind you completely except for your face, in the middle of a field with the sky falling down on me. I could swear that the stars were close enough for me to touch, and the dimensions of the sky were grander than I could comprehend. I had never seen it in such 3D. I had several life impacting revelations that never would have happened had I been in the company of other people. One of which left me a vegetarian for the next 6 months after being able to actually feel the muscle of the animal(s) I had devoured earlier in the day moving through my intestine.

My point is this. While, in theory, no one should really take off randomly whilst suffering the impacts of a severe head fuck, if it's meant to be, who are we to say no to the wind....

Wal-mart greeters don't greet you anymore.

Walking through the mall today, I had to pick up some film for the school's yearbook committee. I need to take some pictures of various sports, and while I really prefer digital photography, I just can't get the same results as I do with the SLR camera.

Just the same, the Wal-mart in my local mall is usually a zoo. In fact, it attracts the worst shoppers in general. But it actually wasn't that busy today.

For the most part, the Wal-mart greeters are an old bunch; usually aged 45-60, looking rather dejected, and really never smiling. They attack you if you are carrying any sort of shopping bag, trying in vain to attach a little green sticker to it. Before they used to try and seal the bag, in some grandiose effort to curb shoplifting. Now they just stick it on the side, sometimes without even saying anything.

But since it wasn't busy today, and being in a decent mood, I figured I wouldn't blow by the greeter today. Today, I imagined, I would actually greet them back. So I walked slower when I hit the entrance to Wal-mart, took a deep breath and said "Hello" to the senior citizen in the ridiculous blue vest.

He blinked. And then blinked again. He looked down at my hips on either side, checking to see if I was carrying a shopping bag. I was not. With a dazed and confused look, he nodded back and turned away sharply.

Wal-mart greeters don't greet you anymore.

Something that won't fit in a node, because I:

A) Don't feel like noding it in full, and
B) Isn't really long enough to be noded

... but an old term for a cod fish was a "marblehead turkey", unless you were from Cape Cod, in which case it was a Cape Cod turkey. In fact, if you were from anywhere in America but Albany for a time, fish was sometimes known as Albany beef. And people from England called some fishies "two-eyed steak".

Why do I know this? Because Tyler knows this.

Tyler being a mildly autistic student at the high school I teach at.

I'm still looking for a teaching job in Winnipeg, by the way. I'm giving up my full-time gig here in Ontario to move 2200 km to be with the one I love.

So if anyone has any connections to the education system in the fine city of Winnipeg, lemme know ASAP.

This afternoon a student came into the Writing Center with a paper for Intro to Sociology. I've read these papers before: pick something from pop culture (this student chose to write about three family sitcoms, each from a different decade) and analyze it in sociological terms. The last one I read was a scene-by-scene summary of The Family Guy written by a guy who had to be at least 30, and seemed a little confused when I explained to him that a scene-by-scene summary is not a critical analysis. Yeah, he was a little off.

A lot of my experiences at work are like that. Most of them are reasonably bright freshman comp students there for the extra credit, and their papers just need a little mechanical tweaking, maybe a clearer thesis statement or some other basic structural issue. Or they need their resumes proofread. But the students who come in who really need help - I'm not always prepared for them, and I'm often not able to reach them. I'm always worried that I said too much, or too little, when the appointment is over - worried about whether I was as useful as I could have been. But, honestly, what most of them need is a good proofread - nothing higher level than that.

This particular student had chosen "The Brady Bunch," "Married...With Children" and (oddly enough) "Boy Meets World" as his point of departure for sociological analysis. I should say also that these types of assignments - for Intro to Soc.! - often seem kind of trite and unnecessary when you see what the students who do them actually come up with. This kid had a really fine start - just touching on the gender dynamics and economic realities of the first two shows, though he didn't have much to say about the third. (Who does?)

After we ran through the requisite grammar and punctuation stuff I found myself going off on long tangents about each of the points he raised. Those of you here who know me know I can't resist the temptation to go off on a lengthy pop culture tangent, if I happen to know the material. And again, normally, I wouldn't even take the opportunity to go this deep into matters beyond mechanics and structure, but this kid was asking me what a thesis statement was - and his writing made it pretty clear that he was just tapping into his capacity for critical thought, but that he'd never been encouraged to exploit it before. I have to say that my thinking was also colored by the fact that I was sitting at the table with a Latino kid with a fairly heavy accent; I went to a rural high school with a 20 percent Spanish-speaking population, and the vast majority of those kids were fed the crumbs of the public-education cake. It made me furious in high school (when, as editor of the school paper, I was told not to accept contributions from the ESL room), and it makes me furious enough now that I may have softened more than usual for this appointment. In fact, I was elated to get to do for this kid what I doubted anyone had done for him before.

"OK," I said, "you're talking about the Bradys being middle class here - but how many middle class people do you know who have maids? And gender roles, your analysis is dead on - bring in examples though. The 'Oh! My Nose!' episode for instance. OK, and 'Married...with Children.' It's kind of everything a sitcom family isn't supposed to be, isn't it? But there's weird stuff there too. This family is supposed to be so poor that they're fighting over unidentifiable leftovers; a shoe salesman probably makes minimum wage - but what minimum-wage employee lives in that nice a house?" I wondered if I should stop myself, because I was going pretty fast, and when you go overboard like that, students might just eat it up, and they might tune out altogether, even while they're nodding and smiling - thinking you're either a condescending fuck or insane in a uniquely English major way.

As it happened, at the end of the appointment the kid was smiling.

"Do you work tomorrow?" he said. (No, sorry.) "Is there anyone else here as good as you?"

Students are given forms to fill out - mostly so we can keep track of the number of people who come in, for funding purposes - and given the option of evaluating their experience. But they rarely do it to your face. I'd say that's a good day. It's a good enough day that I'm wondering how long I'll continue wanting to follow the journalism path before I say to hell with it and go to grad school so I can teach. There's still a part of me that resists the idea of becoming a teacher - maybe because I'm sick of being asked about that when I tell people my major is English. But once I began to suspect I'd be good at it, and would like it, a door flew open that has never completely shut since. In fact, I'm now wishing I hadn't been too exhausted and disgusted with school to apply to grad school last fall and winter, since I've always suspected I'd end up there anyway. As it is, I've got a summer internship ahead of me, and following that, a job search. And there's nothing wrong with accruing some professional experience, and getting some more writing (both news clips and fictional pieces) stacked up before I decide to really hit the MFA sauce. And I may end up talking myself out of it before I'm in a position to apply again. But I may not.

In other news, it was nice outside today, so almost everyone was showing a lot of skin. (I don't trust the weather, so I wore a short-sleeved collar shirt and my frequent black, black, black ensemble, now featuring the ribbed tights I bought last weekend.) I was walking to a late-afternoon oceanography lab when I noticed a skin-showing couple that - pardon the cattiness - shouldn't have been. The guy, in particular, had this enormous white belly and chest hanging out over his manpris and a baseball cap - and that was it. Bad decision, I thought. Yeah, I'm an asshole. The chica at his side was not much better off, at least in terms of human form. Once I got close enough to make eye contact, I realized I had been staring with such disdain at an ex of mine, a guy I dated semi-seriously two years ago. And that I was looking pretty good that day. I walked to class grinning smugly.

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