Last night I was collecting nodes to read on the commuter train in the morning. I've been considering attaching a wireless NIC and cellular modem to my laptop and running some router software so I and anyone else that knows about it can use my Internet connection on the train. I don't know that there are enough people that would benefit from it. I've seen one lady several times before and yesterday was the first time I noticed her using a laptop on the train. It would be neat if I started a trend. Well, I guess that depends on how dumb I'm being..

I'm working on 8 nodes with the E2 offline scratchpad. I like to make good pipe links, so I did a bunch of searching, but I have to be a little disciplined to stop myself from reading them as I go (I'm saving that for the commute).

Now I am on the train, and I am still not reading the nodes. When I'm reading on the bus, sometimes I miss my stop. This almost happened on the train once. But it never happens when I'm writing. If anyone knows of an offline proxy for E2 that would let me read and vote while I'm on the train, please msg me. It is possible to get the nodes out of temporary internet files, and even vote on them, but then I have to make sure I leave the web browser open until I'm reconnected to the Internet and then submit the votes.

I suppose it's time to go see what you all had to say in the nodes I collected.

I have never given much thought to sand before... Well, why would I? Why the hell would anyone stop to ponder the possiblilities of sand unless they were trying to make glass right? Well as I found out yesterday, there's sand and there's sand. The difference? One can be found on the beach and the other can be found on the road.

Hang on, let me try that again:

When you ride a motorbike around town you get used to looking carefully for anything that may impede your progress and/or cause injury or death to yourself. These things can include negligent motorists, large potholes and various substances which may be lying/oozing across the road. Sand falls into this category. On a straight road sand shouldn't cause any problems for a biker (unless it has signifigant depth of course), it's in the corners that sand becomes dangerous. In a car - if a wheel runs through a patch of sand it may lose some traction but unless you are on the absolute limit the other three tyres will provide adequate grip to avoid upsetting the balance too much. On a bike you only have two wheels and only one of them turns. If the front wheel hits sand in a corner at a reasonable speed it will slide towards the outside of the turn while the rear continues holding it's line. The front of the bike seems to dissapear off to the side and you run wide - possibly into the other lane (not good). All this happens in a fraction of a second of course...

Anyway, getting to the point - this is the position I found myself in yesterday afternoon. EEEK!
I've been riding for about a year now and this is the closest I've come to being taken out. The problem in this case is that there was a car coming the other way and for a split second it looked (to me anyway) like our trajectories were going to intersect (ouch) as I skidded and wobbled across the tarmac. Fortunately (thought the noding community may disagree ;-)) I was spared and ended up sliding across the front of the car, missing it by about three feet. Coming to a rest I quickly dismounted and sat on the grass, gently quiverering with shock. The driver of the car showed compassion by speeding off around the corner never to be seen again.

"Thanks buddy, I'm fine."

Isn't there a saying about dark clouds and silver linings? I guess the good news is that I've been brought down to earth and no longer feel invincible on my bike. There is a tmie and a place for everything and I guess I may have been going a little too fast for the unexpected. Maybe I'll slow down a bit.

Another Fiction as Daylog. This one, amazingly enough, was not written by free-associating from a random dictionary word.

Don't Regret A Single Day

She had a tenacious grasp on the notion that pleasure could not exist without pain.

She worked a job that bored her so that she could enjoy going home every day; married a man who she loved to avoid; owned a dog when she wanted a cat so that she could savor the times when she was away from the dog, or when she saw cats in windows or walking around in her neighborhood; lived in a house that she kept messy, though she liked neatness, so that she could enjoy cleaning up, in a gated neighborhood that she could stay inside to avoid; cooked and ate food she didn't like in order to keep herself alive so that she could keep enjoying the time she spent away from the job and the man and the dog and the house. The time she enjoyed the most was the time that was devoid of the things that people believed to define her.

She was well aware that anticipation was the best part of getting something you wanted.

She dreamed of moving away from the messy house in the sterile neighborhood; of divorcing the man she didn't love; of quitting the job which paid well but crushed her spirit a little more each day; of some day having a fabulous meal in a fancy restaurant. Her husband offered to take her out to fancy restaurants and she mentioned ones she hated so that she could endure the awkward silence and disagreeable food while she waited to pay the check and get out. The rule that ran her life was to withhold satisfaction at all times. She spent one day a month - a Sunday, since she worked six days a week - doing nothing, and every month she ached for that Sunday to come so that she could spend time away from all the things she loved to hate.

Everything else - finding cats, meeting people she actually liked, eating food that she enjoyed - she left to chance. When she was pleasantly surprised, she was very pleasantly surprised indeed. Her life was a litany of unpleasantness punctuated with spikes of joy which were all the higher for being so few and far between.

Had she taken the time to get to know her husband better, she might have been interested and amused to find out his philosophy.

If his wife's unspoken two-word mantra was "withhold satisfaction," his was "instant gratification."

He married her because she was beautiful and she made a lot of money, and he did things he liked to do and things that made him feel good. He watched sports and played sports, smoked pot and ate Doritos, read books and played video games, gave money to beggars, took his wife out to what he thought were restaurants that she liked and paid for their meals using what was mostly her money. He bought expensive gifts for her, for his friends, for himself, and he loved dogs and made sure to keep one at all time. He did enough cleaning up around the house so that he didn't feel bad for not doing any housework.

He thought he had a pretty good idea of how to live life to the fullest.

He woke his beautiful wife up at 5:30 a.m. so they could watch the sun rise, and he was somewhat disappointed, but at least he could say he had done it. He might have been more pleased with himself if his wife had told him how much she had enjoyed it, particularly if he had known her attitude toward him in general. He bought an expensive stereo system so that he could listen to good music the way it was meant to be listened to, at least when he wasn't at concerts. He had bungee jumped and sky dived and hang glided. He read books that everyone said you had to read and watched movies that everyone said you had to see on his big-screen TV.

He strode through his life, determined to enjoy himself as much as possible, and to do it all. When he found something he liked to do, he moved on, because there was still more to try. His life was a series of leaps from one peak to the next, never becoming dull or unpleasant, never going any higher than it had been before.

They went on leading their lives and pursuing happiness, separate but somehow together at all times. Strangely, they were never unfaithful to each other. They made love frequently enough to keep him happy, and if she never came, she knew she would just be all the more surprised when at last she did. He kept chasing pleasures, and she kept putting them off, and in their own ways, they both attained what they sought, and perhaps while they both suspected that their marriage was lacking something, they also knew they needed each other to get what they were constantly striving for.

And when he lay on his deathbed, he held his wife's hand and cried and asked her why he felt like there was something he was missing, or something he had misunderstood, and she said she didn't know and told him she loved him and surprised herself when she realized that it was true. He smiled at her, and said she hadn't said that in as long as he could remember, and she realized that she couldn't remember ever having said it either, and then he died, and she surprised herself even more when she wept bitterly and wondered why she felt like she had misunderstood something as well.

The day after the funeral, she retired from her job. Although it felt as good as she expected, it wasn't as wonderful as she hoped it could be. A week later, she bought a cat. But she kept the dog, to remember her husband. Somehow she had grown rather fond of it, and she wondered how that could have happened, and what it meant to her that pain could turn to pleasure without her noticing. And she thought about what to do with the rest of her life.

Ring once more, once more...

Today, at 11:47 am, the bell rang. I know it did, I heard its resounding 'ping' through the loud speaker in our classroom. This was most likely the 8,000th or 9,000th time I've heard that bell, or a derivative thereof, ring in such a fashion, indicating the time had come to transition classes. Except that today, I found myself with no class to transition into. I met with my usual group of friends outside of the classroom, and we went our separate ways home, as usual. What wasn't usual was that this was the last time I would ever hear that bell, and look to it for guidance and direction, of sorts. And while something as trivial as a simple bell ringing doesn't seem like much, it stirred my soul, as it its final notes found themselves absorbed into our ears and the walls, as I realized where my life had taken me. I was no longer a student of secondary education, and would soon become one of the 36,000 some-odd undergraduates at our nearby state university.

As I walked through the building, I glanced at the walls. Millions, millions of memories had been created there, memories all thought would never die, while more and more fade with each breath of every student kept there. And millions more will come, and fade. I thought about the times I spent with my friends, the epitome of temporaryism, as I made a joke today in my 4th-hour, and everyone laughed. In that epiphanic instant, I realized that exact moment we'd never have again, and most would forget by the end of the day. And while school has been filled with turmoil, excessive work loads, stress, and eventually an incredible amount of apathy, its been an incredible ride. I wouldn't trade my past four years with my friends, the jokes we've shared, the experiences we've lived through, the hours upon hours spent laughing and just enjoying life, no matter what cause we had to be upset or depressed about something.

I will never forget these times, we've spent, or at least, I will try my very hardest to preserve them as best I can. They have helped shaped the person I am, the person I'm becoming. I've come away with one simple piece of wisdom- true friends, and strong friendships are the most important part about living your life. This should supercede your drive to "do better" in school, in your job, or in most anything else. Your friends need to matter most. Because, what's life, if you have no one else to live it with?

I hope you'll take this away, as well.

It gets closer and closer to becoming a fait acompli that I will leave Germany at the end of this year.
For reasons ranging from a general dislike of Germans and their culture to a strong desire to pursue a relationship with Anna and a passionate love of Italy to the fact that it appears unlikely that my job will give me more hours anytime soon, my time in this wretched land of rain and wurst, high train fares and long lines at Aldi.

To be honest since I made the decision to leave I have been far more centred and at peace with myself. I mean what am I doing here. I would have never come here in a million years had it not been for K. and now that that bitch is gone from my life I am in a hurry to leave her country behind me as well.

I put together a CD for Anna, which she liked. I make a lot of CD’s but never before has anyone seemed to appreciate them as much as she does. It’s a nice feeling.
Here’s the track list (all the lyrics are noded).

All I WantJoni Mitchell
Box of RainGrateful Dead
Dear DoctorRolling Stones
Look at MeJohn Lennon
Anything But MePhish
IsolationJohn Lennon
Victim Or The CrimeGrateful Dead
GodJohn Lennon
Simple Twist of FateBob Dylan
DriftingTrey Anastasio
Theme From The BottomPhish
Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down and Out)John Lennon
Oh SisterBob Dylan
Let It BleedRolling Stones
I Will Take You HomeGrateful Dead
Mexicojames Taylor
RippleGrateful Dead
Save MeAimee Mann

In other news I made a nice 235-euro profit just by going to the bank the other day. With the euro so strong, buying dollars has become cheap. I bought $2000 and it only cost me 1765 euros. Nice. With this cash I am completely paying off a $1300 student loan, something I have been wanting to do since last year and have put off and put off again. Now it’s done and I feel like I’ve really accomplished something. In practical terms it means $50 a month less in bills. If things work out I’ll pay another $1600 loan off at the end of the year before going to Italy. I plan on arriving there with the same 5000 euros in savings I left the country with back in January of 2001. Not bad. A years worth of living, some student loans paid off, a new stereo system, ganja every day (more or less) for the past 17 months and three trips to America all covered.

That’s what I like. Break even! I recently saw The Last Waltz and that was one of the things that struck me by a member of The Band. His simple desire to break even in this life and have a great time along the way.

So I’m looking forward to going back to Torino on the 29th. It’ll be the second time in a month.
Then in July I’m going to the USA for nearly a month. Going to Chicago to see the family. Going to see Quinn The Eskimo. Going to see Phish five times and The Dead and bob Dylan too. Then in August I’m going to London for a night to see Ratdog. Not a bad summer. Then I’ll give my notice on September 1st for my house (weird German 3-month notice rule) and soon after give my notice at the job.

The only thing that might prevent me from departing in January would be a full time job and the 48,000-euro that would come with it. For that I would stick around another 6 months to a year to pay off a few more loans and have a few more bucks in my pocket for when I do blow this Bratwurst stand.

Furthur! As the bus comes by and I get on.
Bad Guy until proven Good

Tabby says she is having an abortion and her troubled blue eyes instantly start to search my face for signs of aggression from beneath a lock of recently dyed-from-blonde-to-auburn hair.

It is beautiful. All of it. The whole package. Her. She sings to me while I play the guitar and flashes come-hither smiles while I am in the middle of a phone conversation. A certified massage therapist, she can rub a mean shoulder, and she doesn't mind me cooking dinner.

Her actual words are 'I can't have this baby.' And she has told me that before. Her friend Layce tells me that she is trying to push me away before I have a chance to dump her in a mighty heap. A defensive self-preservation thing. She has very low self-esteem. She tells me to go to Texas, find the three most beautiful women on base and fuck my brains out for two months and then if I still had any feelings for her at all, she would consider my proposal. She tells me about her ex-husband and how much he begged her to get pregnant and then to marry him. How he used to pin her to the floor and spit in her face, how it ran down her cheeks into her ears. How he drove her to the verge of suicide, making her believe that she was losing her mind, non-stop mental abuse, brainwashing. How he got her pregnant and then ran off with another man on Memorial Day. She tells me that this is the ultimate deja vu- she is pregnant again, and I am leaving on Memorial Day. She starts to cry a little and tells me how he wished for her to die giving birth to her daughter, hissing at her over the phone after she had called to tell him her water had broken.

The baby, I think, would be devilishly handsome. Tabby is a tall, beautiful woman, built like one of Frank Frazetta's lush heroines - a real good-looking woman. The epitome of healthy femininity.

So I get up from the table and leave the kitchen, glancing over my shoulder once to make sure my belongings are somewhat together and ready to go.

"Where are you going?"

"To write some shit down, then home." I push through the door into her room and lock it behind me, I know she is watching me through the sliding glass door in the kitchen through her bedroom window as I pull the shades, but I don't allow myself a glance to make sure.

I proceed to write her a letter along the lines of:

The Good Guy never squirms, never balks, never cheats his compadre. The Good Guy has the advantage because he shoots straight and doesn't talk shit. The Good Guy might not know how to dance real well, but he knows who he should and shouldn't be dancing with. The Good Guy never crawls on his belly, and he never begs.

It's a shame that this life has been so cruel, that the people you thought you could trust turned rotten, and that you are going to live the rest of your life hanging your head, tail between your legs, like a beaten old dog - kicked once too many times.

So, the self proclaimed Good Guy will ride off into the sunset with his guitar slung over his shoulder and the whispered memory of come-hither smiles crawling under the covers with him at the tattered edges of sleep.

I don't know if this is appropriate material for a Daylog or what not, but, fuck it - I am not going to make an excuse for it.

Very good friends of mine had their first child a week ago Monday. A little baby girl named Katherine.

I haven't seen either of them since last September. They were married two weeks before my wife and I were, which made for some stressed travel plans. I've known them for years, and they are very dear to me. They were my family when I was lost in the wilderness, my sages when I was wallowing through the muck, and my home when I didn't have one. One of my regrets about moving out here was that I wouldn't be able to see them nearly as often as I would like.

I made a call to Ithaca last night to see how things are going. He sounded very tired. I suppose I would feel that way too after working a 60-hour workweek and having a nine-day-old daughter. My wife and I are going to stop in and see them this weekend as part of our larger trip to New York.

I stayed up late last night, staring at the ceiling and pondering the world of changes. Even though I've been away from the hills for a little over a year, so much is different. Marriages and children and real jobs and real responsibility sprung from places never before seen. I admit that I've done the same thing too, but it's much more shocking to see it in the stop motion trickles of information I receive. I guess that we're all growing up for a change, instead of constantly trying to set our lives on fire.

It's a change that I can appreciate, but doesn't make it any easier to wrap my head around.


Angela tells me that the guy across the way and his wife might be splitting up. She deduced this from an exchange yesterday afternoon wherein he stood outside their apartment, apparently getting his stuff out, and shouted abuse at her through the open door; calling her stupid and saying she was going to "ruin" their kid's life. The kid in question is their little girl, whom I've heard him call "retard" at least once and whom he has loudly and publicly berated because her medicine costs so much. I think I daylogged all of this a while ago, I can't remember.

Oh yeah, and he made fun of our Hindu neighbors once by loudly mocking their hymn-singing.

The end of a marriage is certainly not optimal, and my admittedly uncharitable opinion of this man is based on five minutes total of exposure to him, but I really hope she's kicked his sorry ass out. No little girl should grow up thinking her daddy thinks she's stupid, and that the medicine to keep her healthy isn't as important as buying...I don't know, a big screen television or a jet ski or whatever the hell he'd rather do with the money.

This, of course, is exactly the kind of person we're commanded to love and pray for, so I dutifully pray for him. "God," I say, "setting aside my own many faults for the moment, would you please straighten this bastard out?"

Feeling pretty blue today. After talking it over with some friends, I finally realized that I'm not getting what I need from my relationship.

I adore her, I'm nuts about her, I'm absolutely in love with her - but I've thought more and more about cheating on her. I don't get enough time with her. I'm constantly feeling alone, rejected (that's my issue) and missing her. I think if I could see her for several hours two evenings a week and one day & evening on the weekend that would keep my cup full.

As it is, my cup runs dry, we fight, we come back together, make love either that day or the next, and my cup gets some more in it. Then it runs out again.

Does she really want to be close? Her ex-husband never got to spend time with her either. She was always running around. Is it a good idea to stay with some one who can't give you what you need, even if you're in love with them? I really do love her.

I guess I will try - one more time - to tell her how I really feel and see if she gets it. And see if she can change. Cause I've changed. And this is a need that won't change.

Please, my darling - please love me.

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