I was out in the back yard playing with my son this evening.

Young children can be a lot of work, and there are times when I wish he'd go away for just an hour.

But then sometimes it's just poetry.

backyard haiku

           Mommy, play with me

       I want to go outside now

           our needs are but few

       the sun setting low

           hide-and-seek in the backyard

     where'd he go???            surprise!!!

      night's dreams rolling in

   the long day's play put to bed

sleep now, little one

I'm back in school for the 3rd time, after having some injuries that led to degenerative problems in my back and knees. I loved being an LPN but I am medically forbidden from returning to that career, so now I am learning to be a tech geek and network administrator. I have about 6 months until I graduate with an associate's degree (though I am planning on going directly into the bachelor's program when I graduate this program) - that means it is time to start the job search process.

I attended a career fair for my school last week and I made some really good contacts, passed out many copies of my resume, etc. I got an email back from Hyland Software, saying they liked my resume and wanted me to fill out their online application. Cool - this means I might have a job BEFORE I get out of my program. This is good.

I get through the personal information, the education history, the work history, the cover letter, the "paste your resume here," and then I find the most interesting part of the application. The last page includes the request that I write a 40 to 60 word original poem about my current or most recent job.

Being 3:30am when I happened upon this part of the application, I just stared at my screen for a moment or two. And then I wrote this:

Asylum for those deprived of their reason,
whether there for a week or for a season,
from childhood to elderly life,
our patients need care, not additional strife.

Children's behaviors and angry outbursts,
addictions so strong they needs must come first,
eating disorders, both large and small,
our tenderness stretches to cover them all.

We are Friends Hospital.

The following changes will take place on June 2nd, 2008.

Steve Ward will go to the split shift 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
co-worker will go to 3rd shift 11:00 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. – co-worker, this shift will require you to be here Sunday night at 11:00 p.m. June 1st.
co-worker II will go 2nd shift 3:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Should anyone have any questions or concerns please see me.

Ward's Boss

Distribution Center Manager
Email: Wardsboss@nunyabiz.com
Office: 555-555-5555
Mobile: 555-555-5557
Fax: 555-555-5556

After a little over a year of not getting more than 7 hours of sleep a day, ever, I am finally being allowed to reattain the title Daywalker. It's been long enough that I had forgotten what it feels like to sleep next to my wife and was having a hard time getting to sleep when I tried to on the weekends.

Free at last!

(WARNING - Vent approaching.)

Not happy.

That's actually an understatement. I'm positively quivering with rage right now, actually. Normally this could be solved by having a good hard windmill round my room to something suitably furious sounding like Sadus's song "Certain Death," but that's no use. Not at the moment. Shrieking about what it feels like to have a stroke in all its gory details won't solve the problem - not even if the victim of this stroke is Jack Straw or Martin Salter or Harriet Harman.

Have you ever felt totally and unutterably powerless, like the world around you is melting and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it? Because that's pretty much how I feel right now. Here in Britain, and I shit you not, we are teetering on the edge of being in a police state. And two things that have happened today only confirmed these suspicions. Firstly, there's the new proposal which I just learnt about, coming 2009, for yet another giant database of everything you look at on the internet, every e-mail you send, every phone call you make, and so forth, administered by the Government, ostensibly to protect us from terrorism. The fact that 20 years ago we were under siege from terrorists who were I. well funded, II. competent, and III. whose finest hour was to come within six inches of wiping out the entire Cabinet, and we didn't need any of these Orwellian measures to beat the IRA, did we? Not to mention the inordinate number of people that could abuse this database to settle personal scores, or even sell the information to spammers and other assorted wasted orgasms - or "accidentally" post the discs to a remote shack in Horse's Creek, Nebraska. And then there's the cost and all that, but still we deserve to be spied on to this extent all in the name of fighting terrorism.

The second thing is that people honestly don't seem to give a flying, sailing, fuck. Even my fellow students, supposedly intelligent folks (well, they have three A's, but you know...) are completely unpertubed by such things as this. One particularly egregious dimbulb I spoke to yesterday said that if he was locked up for 42 days without charge on mere suspicion of terrorism, he'd actually be thankful that the police were doing their job properly!!! What a spineless worm he really is. The reason we have such short pre-charge detention limits is because it forces the police to come up with at least some reason why this person is to be taken off the streets and make it properly known to the public in general, thus making it more difficult for police officers to abuse their power against personal foes. He also went on to call me naive for allegedly understating the terrorist "threat". Despite the fact that we hear more about plots being foiled with current police powers than we do those that actually go off... not to mention that his handmaidens then told me to "sort my life out" because the majority of people wanted these measures when I mentioned that, thanks to the miracle of control orders, the only thing keeping all of us off house arrest is that we've kept our heads down. His advice? "Keep your head down then".



But why should I have to keep my head down? Isn't the whole point of liberal democracy that it fosters things like the marketplace of ideas and encourages individualism and sticking one's neck out because just about every advance in every field of the human experience, ever, has been made by people putting their bonces over the parapet. But numbskulls like him and his cohort would be just fine sitting in a well of stagnation and despondency, living as one of a legion of lawful automata, constantly in fear of the suicide bomber that never appears.

And what about the National Identity Register? "Well everyone else has one, and what have you to hide?" Not as intrusive as ours will be they don't, and what good will it be anyhow? The ban on "extreme pornography," perhaps? "Well I don't look at that sort of thing..." But what gives the State the right to pry that far into our private lives anyhow? The exclusion zone round Parliament? "It's needed to protect the Government from terrorists." Really? Have you SEEN the security measures round Parliament? They have fucking tank traps for fuck's sake. All these are widespread amongst my fellow students and they consistently fail to justify any of the needs for it outside of a vague "well, it's terrorism, isn't it?" or similar completel failure to understand the intricacies of the situation. Or that it's justifiable because the majority of people want it. And that makes it right how, you grinding afterbirth? What is this, mob rule?

Oh. And then there's the folks that say that I'd be a hundred percent behind all these measures if I'd lost someone in the July 7, 2005 bombings like they have? Wrong. Yano the News of the World headline that went "Tell Tony He's Right" soon after with a picture of someone holding a bloodstained bandage to his face? He was in the bombings and he was against 90 day detention and control orders and has since said so, and was particularly narked that his photo had been used without his permission to push a point of view that he vehemently opposed.

As an aside, I'm with Fondue on his idea that politicians should be barred from basing their policies on the emotions of grieving mothers, but that's by the by.

People today are so absorbed by red top tabloids and celebrities and reality TV and other shitbagging nonsense to care. In fact, it's almost like they don't want to care. As long as they get their tart fuel and goss and so forth, they're perfectly happy to live out their lives in blissful ignorance that Jack Straw only need give the nod and all of them will have their assets frozen and be placed on house arrest indefinitely, without ever having had to go before a judge for all of this, with no chance of appeal whatsoever, with anyone who interacts with them in any way being liable for a seven year prison term, and without even having the reason for their being put on control order made public because to have the charge against them revealed would allegedly be to compromise national security (As an aside, I cannot conceive of how the mere facts of the matter being contrary to national security could ever come about, but then again, this Government just unilaterally banned any and all adult content that it doesn't like, so nothing surprises me any more.)

I shouldn't be writing this. I'm only 22, for crying out loud. It feels like I'm the one-eyed man in the land of the blind. People are just totally uninterested in having these safeguards and things and freedoms. I've tried talking to them. None of them care, ever. None of them would care even if they did have their privacy data-mined on a daily basis and had to give 56 bits of information, including credit card details, complete itineraries and names and addresses of everywhere they plan to stay, fingerprints, DNA, retinal scans, and so forth, just to leave the country on holiday.

And because I actually take an interest in what's going on, I need to "sort my life out." Bollocks. You're the ones who need to sort their life out, you miserable, flaccid, fucks. What would it take you to actually take an interest and DO SOMETHING about our approaching topple into the abyss of tyranny, hm? Detention without trial for 28 days? Being locked up for three years for possessing the "wrong" sort of smut or for reading pamphlets by the "wrong" people? Being put on control order? Being waterboarded? Being trowelled in the cunt - and if you have no cunt, one will be provided for you? Because most, if not all, of you, could do with any or all of those so you get the message.

In closing, I strongly suspect that my card is marked. Because during the extreme pornography wrangle I wrote to several MPs and Lords about the ban voicing opposition to it. My local MP being Tessa Jowell, who strongly supported this ban, she probably passed my details on to the Met. Who will probably subject me to the midnight knock come January 2009 and the coming into force of this Act.

It indeed is frustrating to be the one who believes they know the truth in a crowd of people who don't. As the old saying goes, "it's hard to soar with Eagles when you're surrounded by Turkeys."

Senator Edward M. Kennedy co-wrote a fabulous piece in The New York Times with former United States Supreme Court Justice Warren E. Burger about a similar thing. The article, "America Needs A Literacy Corps," focuses on illiteracy in the United States. At the time the article was written the U.S. had the highest rate of per-capita illiteracy of any of the industrialized nations. I'd hazard a guess that's still true twenty years later.

The Judge and the Senator were exasperated by the fact that so many of their fellow Americans couldn't read the very article they'd written. Worse, these Americans can't read a safety warning on a piece of power equipment or dosage directions on medication. And the two had an answer which would take a mere vote of Congress, and require little or no funding and certainly not the $106 million spent in 1987 alone to fight illiteracy. When the idea of a "Literacy Corps" failed to materialize, imagine how frustrated the two men felt.

When it comes to matters of politics and socio-economic issues, many people who hold strong beliefs refuse to accept any version of the truth but their own. I hate to refer to a writeup hereinabove but these are daylogs so I feel better about it. Hazelnut has a very valid point with which I agree when I wear my Libertarian hat. Americans shared the fear of the midnight knock at a number of points in their history, ranging from the Salem Witch Trials to Senator McCarthy's own hunt for Communists during the 1950s. More on point, when I was a child a film showed in school instructed us to "duck and cover" under our desks lest a nearby atomic bomb blast us to smithereens — Soviet Russia's version of a midnight knock. It's amazing how many adults thought it appropriate, whilst most of us kids thought it laughable.

The threat of mutually assured destruction no longer hangs over our heads. The horrible plague of AIDS remains incurable, but the disease is now survivable, thanks to amazing scientific breakthroughs. Terrorism, however, remains an enigmatic enemy which comes knocking at midnight all to often in too many corners of the globe these days.

Now, far be it from me to buy into hysteria. However, giving up a few of our rights if we are law-abiding citizens who have nothing to hide should not be too great a price to pay for the luxury of peace of mind with regard to national security. If we fail to impose the same requirements for, let's say, identification, on every person, then we're going to end up being called racists as soon as profiling, instead, is used to root out terrorists.

September 11, 2001; July 7, 2005 — both dates will live in infamy just as the unprovoked attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor will. How many more September 11ths and July 7ths must we endure? We don't know. We don't know. Those who'd harm citizens of the United Kingdom and/or citizens of the United States are an unknown quantity. There's an old saying, "knowledge is power." What, I ask, have we to be worried about, then, if we hand over a bit of knowledge about ourselves so we can board an airliner, train or even bus and truly feel safe?

If I am living as one of a legion of lawful automata, so be it. If it becomes uncomfortable, there's always the ballot box, or for quicker relief, revolution. There are far more of us citizens than there are folks in government.

A few hours ago, as I was combing my unruly hair, pulling on my nice slacks and finding a button up shirt, and otherwise preparing for my first job interview ever, which happened to be at Sears, I was already anticipating writing this daylog about how the interview went.

Unfortunately, I find myself able to choronicle only my lack of said job interview.

I showed up at Sears about a half hour early, and asked the nearest employee where the HR office was. The first thing I noticed on the way there was that I was severely overdressed. All the employees I saw were wearing dark shirts or sweaters and casual pants; I had elected to wear black dress shoes and slacks, a short sleeve, button up shirt, and a black tie. I spent most of the thirty minutes roaming around the store, feeling conspicuous and out of place. I tried to fight off my sense of impending awkwardness by reading the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner boxes, but failed.

When the time came, I walked into the HR office, and seeing no one who appeared to be expecting me, told someone who didn't that I was there for a job interview. He asked for my name, and checked a tray labeled "First Interview." He couldn't find my file. The interview went downhill from there. Not only had my file failed to make it to the aforementioned tray, it had also failed to conveniently misplace itself in the "Second Interview" tray; even more admirable was its complete and utter failure to be found anywhere in the electronic system. I was asked to wait outside, and did so for twenty minutes. Then the man who was helping me came out and told me that they were having "printing problems," which was encouraging, since I assumed that meant he had located my file. I waited patiently for another ten minutes, and was rewarded with the printout of the confirmation email that I had given to him earlier, plus a phone number and instructions to call it the next day. Supposedly this will ensure that the HR office is "better prepared" to interview me. This, combined with the sight of many cashiers standing around doing a fat lot of nothing, made the entire experience rather disheartening.

Here's hoping that tomorrow's interview actually happens.

Update, March 21st, 2008: I called the HR Department as I was instructed. Apparently they had found my file, because they told me that they were not hiring seasonal employees for the summer. I'm pursuing other possibilities, such as Target, Toys R Us, the local library, Borders, and some others. I'm disappointed with Sears though. You'd think that their online application tool would be smart enough to not offer interviews to people that they can't hire.

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