As I was growing up my parents let me believe that I was extraordinary and they believed me capable of extraordinary things. As a result I came to expect extraordinary things from myself. And when these extraordinary things did not come true I believed myself a failure. It is only today that I have come to realize that I am not extraordinary, but actually a plain, average person. I am no more intelligent than the next person, I posess no more talent than the next and I am not destined for greatness. I cannot be everything to everyone, not even close to it. It is now time for me to except my average, ordinary existance and learn to deal with it.

No longer can I beat myself up for not meeting lofty goals, no longer can I accept nothing as the alternative to all. It is time I realized how I really am and lived up to my own relative mediocre potential. There is nothing wrong with being average and ordinary. I can no longer afford to berate myself for not meeting impossible goals and self-appointed expectations. Afterall, it is impossible to be 6'2" when you are in fact only 5'2".

Everyday I see people who are trying to live outside their means, spending more money than they have. I have been doing very much the same in assuming that I am special, that I am something extraordinary. Today begins a brand new life for me. Today I accept me for me. Today I finally begin to live the life I have been given.

we are, i've been told, made up of the bits and pieces of all who ever touched our lives. there are people who leave you, causing you to breathe a sigh of relief, wondering why your paths ever had to cross. and then, there are people who leave you and you breathe a shuddering sigh of remorse, wondering why they had to go and leave such a gaping hole. these are the people who stride toward your person, tread lightly through your heart and tiptoe through your soul, touching your life with love and carelessness and then moving on.

and so, i was here wednesday, with the gaping hole you left

with a pain in my throat, the coppery taste of blood in my mouth

and tears in my eyes despite the brutality i've done my lip.

and i missed you.
so, i sent an email.
and went to bed begging for sleep to take me.

'so i'm left...
wondering how
someone i care about
is doing.
is he well
or sad
or deliriously happy
does he miss me
as i miss him?
just a note would be enough--
enough to let me know that you breathe still'

and the response

'he is deliriously apathetic
doing well
doing better
he breathes sometimes
though sometimes he doesn't

he misses you'

tonight i am weeping rubescent tears...

tonight i am waiting for rain...


I woke up today to find my friend Carlos sleeping on the floor in my room when he was supposed to be at work. (His wife kicked him out a few days earlier). It turns out that Dave went to work, clocked in, then came home to sleep when he was supposed to be selling hubcaps to car dealerships. Apparently he does this a lot. (And he wonders why he got fired from his last 2 jobs).

My best friend is moving away forever.

She will go to Seattle tomorrow, then to Canada, then on to Minnesota before spending a month in France, from whence she will return to San Diego to live and work.

I believe it is my privilege to act like a five-year-old about this. We both cried when we said goodbye, then I came home and told my cat "It's not fair!" about a million times, alternately putting food in the refrigerator and sitting on the floor, looking up at the ceiling. The cat showed no sympathy, but tried to bite me because I was sitting in her favorite place.

Of course, we have talked about visiting each other, and calling, and writing, but it's not the same.

It was a good day, though. I am very glad I got to say goodbye to Carissa, sad as it was. I got to go shopping for birthday and going-away gifts for my friends at the huge antique mall in Plano. And tonight was my friend Jennifer's 20th birthday party, so I spent the evening in good company, with good food... except I still hate cheesecake. It's hard to stay in a bad mood when there's Italian food, chocolate, and friends around.

I'm listening to Galbatron.
I think I have von Willebrand's disease.
I want to start a web comic.
I went sailing on a brigantine schooner on Saturday.
I might get a new migraine med prescription on Thursday.
Did I tell you what the poesy ring he gave me for our two-year anniversary says? "Mo cuirle croide," which is Gaelic, and translated as "pulse of my heart." It's from a 17th-century Dublin ring, now lost.
Bridget Jones' Diary was far better than I expected.
I want to see Moulin Rouge. Nicole Kidman just slays me in the trailers.
I bought The Chronicles of Narnia for my 13-year-old niece. She can't come visit us this summer. Probably her mother's afraid we'd corrupt her with our bad, bohemian liberal ways.
I'm still listening to Galbatron.


Some random (ack) Work.

I'm trying to figure out how to import this MySQL database into PostgreSQL database.

Surprisingly, I found a good document about this... I had always been wondering how the MySQL User's Favorite Kluge, auto_increment, works in PostgreSQL.

(Scurries to do weird things)


Strange order of noding things... I just realized I had noded about "Log & LOAD!" =)



The import was rather painless (relatively speaking) - because PostgreSQL has this thing called SERIAL that looks and feels like MySQL's auto_increment. Making PHP to talk to the database wasn't too painless, though, and I still need to work on that...


People: Gabber can be a psychological burden.


  1. New version of Gabber gets released.
  2. server helpfully tells me that a new version is Out There.
  3. It does that every goddamned time I connect to the server.
  4. Every time.
  5. Yes, every time.
  6. Meanwhile, it's not available in Debian Testing release.
  7. It is available in Debian Unstable. It just happens to depend on terabyte of GNOME packages, none in Testing yet!
  8. Didn't want to mess apt's stuff again, so I needed to find all those packages myself... sort of hard...

Now I finally have an updated version of Gabber... I hope the rest of the day will be funnier.

Other day logs o' mine...

Noded today by y.t.: Log LOAD

I have demons whispering constantly in my mind...

Even this morning as I ironed my shirt for work I was fighting them, I know what's right for me and what's not, and it's because of this knowledge that I find it SOOoo very hard not to do what I want to do.

I keep telling myself to wait - wait and it will be over in a while, they'll be gone, and I'll find my inner peace again. That is ofcourse till the next time they decide to pay my head a little visit.

I hate it when they fuck with me...

I hate being confused
I hate not being able to share my thoughts and feelings with anyone.
I hate feeling lonely when I'm surrounded by people.
I hate crying every day.

I hate feeling empty when I have been blessed with more than most people dream about.

Most of all I hate the self pitying tears welling up in my eyes...

Today is my second day in my new job. The window of my office overlooks St James's Park, where marching bands and mounted policemen pass up and down Birdcage Walk. I'm allowed (with provisos) to use the Internet at work, and I have smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches for my lunch.

David Hare has an interesting article in today's Torygraph about the flag burning amendment. Dick Cheney is arguing against an escalation of force in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - not because it would kill people, but because it would make US arms sales to Israel look bad. Such integrity.

It's soooo good to be home. Not that I went very far away, 'cause I only went to Atlanta, six hours away from here (Daytona Beach).

I went to my high school reunion. I won't begin to shock you with how long ago that was, but it was a long long time ago.

It's strange as you watch yourself grow older, but even more strange when you get together with people you haven't seen in several decades, and observe how they've changed. I was surprised at how many people I could no longer recognize. A look at their name tag was absolutely necessary to gain their identity. But besides all that, the reunion was a hoot. I came away quite proud of myself, for reasons I'm not quite sure of; perhaps for the fact that I didn't make a fool of myself, something I did on a regular basis while in high school. Of course, I don't drink anymore either.


We got the news yesterday that our son tested into the gifted program in school. Both of his older siblings were also in the gifted program, so we're not too surpised.

But now he's been tagged. Marked. Different.

Of course, I'm happy that we're in a school system that has special programs for kids of all types. What I'm not happy about is the stigma that the special students get. At that young of an age, kids are just looking for any non-conformists so they can start crushing them early.

Okay, so maybe I've got some issues I need to work out. :)

I just remember the kids in grade school being so fucking visicous. Even the smallest bit of non-conformity was a good excuse for the teasing and the hitting. I was really bad at conforming. Exhibit One. Exhibit Two. Grade school was too much pain.

I know, I know. Projecting my fears onto the CHIL-DRUN is a Bad Thing. Emotional scars run deep.

I'm sure he'll be fine. He's extremely well adjusted. He gets that from his mother. He's also artistic. He gets that from his mother. He's got a logical mind. He gets that from me. We just have to watch him and make sure he gets to be a child first, and gifted second. It worked for the other two.

Yes, I did worry this much about the other two.

ObRant: I used to work at a toy store. About once a week, we would get a customer who was looking for an educational toy. The story was always the same.

"My niece/nephew is having a birthday and they are extremely intelligent. Do you have any eductional toys for them?"

My answer was always the same. "Educational toys are for kids who need educating. If your niece/nephew is already smart, why don't you get them a fun toy instead?"

Blank stare. "But, they don't need fun toys. They need to develop and grow!"

Sigh. "Well, how about Lego? I hear that's a good creative toy."

"Perhaps you misunderstand me, my niece/nephew is extremely smart and has to have an educational toy!"

"Aisle three, halfway down on the left."

Most people just didn't get it. Most smart kids are tired of getting educational toys. They just want to be kids. Kids need toys. Playtime is important.

And for the record, I don't consider Lego an educational toy. It is definately a creative toy. For me, it's more of a lifestyle.

Today's news from around the world...

International Hearld Tribune (

  • New 'Guest Workers' Speak With German Accent
    Here in the formerly Communist eastern half of Germany, nearly 20 percent of the work force is unemployed. And countries like Britain, Ireland and above all the Netherlands, where unemployment has sunk to just 2.4 percent, are desperately looking for workers.
  • U.S. Endorses Call for Mideast
    Truce The United States on Monday endorsed a long-awaited report on the Middle East crisis that urges Israel and the Palestinians to cease violence immediately as a first step toward restoring trust and eventually renewing peace negotiations.
  • Bush Budget Returns to Reagan Tax Revolution
    With Congress nearing approval of the biggest tax cut in two decades, the Bush administration is poised to accomplish one of its less-noticed goals: setting the nation on a new fiscal course that could reshape the role and functions of the federal government for decades to come.
  • U.S.-Taiwan Relations Flourish Under Bush
    More than two decades after formally abandoning Taiwan in favor of ties with mainland China, the United States is again openly cozying up to the island, defying the spirit of agreements with Beijing, ignoring its protests and risking further setbacks in already tense relations.
  • Computer Rivals' Cross-Generational Grudge Match
    They represent the rival styles of the graying personal computer industry, and they don't seem to like each other very much. (Apple and Dell)
  • National Hero or Fiscal Scrooge? Japan’s Rebel With a Cause
    The popular author Yasuo Tanaka has a penchant for Versace leather suits, flight attendants and disclosing the intimate details of his many affairs.
  • Megawati Outlines a Vision for Future
    Indonesia's increasingly isolated president, Abdurrahman Wahid, moved closer Monday to being ousted as support for an impeachment hearing grew and his popular deputy and the military made veiled attacks on his leadership.


  • NHS plan hit by TV election row
    Labour's proposals for improving the NHS vie for attention with their claims about media tactics on the campaign trail.
  • China angry at US visits
    Beijing reacts angrily to visits to the US by Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian and the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
  • Concorde to fly 'by summer'
    British Airways says its supersonic jets should be flying again by late summer - a year after the fatal Air France Concorde crash.
  • World pushes for Mid-East ceasefire
    US diplomats begin meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders aimed at beginning implementation of the Mitchell report on halting the violence.
  • M&S profits continue to slide
    Troubled retailer Marks & Spencer reports a £74m fall in profits and moves its head office to a cheaper location.

New York Times (

  • Senate Turns Down Efforts to Change Tax-Cut Measure
    Republicans maintained a united front as the Senate rejected efforts to change the tax-cut bill, President Bush's top legislative priority. A vote on the measure is expected on Tuesday.
  • Firestone to Stop Sales to Ford
    Bridgestone, acting ahead of Ford's expected effort to replace as many as 13 million more Firestone tires on its Explorer, said that it would stop selling tires to Ford.
  • Officials Long Debated Risks of Anti-Drug Patrol in Peru
    The anti-drug program that led to the downing of a plane carrying Americans in Peru last month has provoked intense government debate since its inception.
  • Times Names Raines as Successor to Lelyveld as Executive Editor
    Howell Raines, the editor of the editorial page of The New York Times for the last eight years, has been chosen to succeed Joseph Lelyveld as executive editor of the newspaper in September.

Panapress (African) (

  • ANC welcomes Boesak's release
    South Africa's ruling Africa National Congress (ANC) Tuesday expressed satisfaction over the release of renowned cleric Allan Boesak, after serving a year of his three-year jail term for fraud and theft.
  • Namibian gemstone traders, jewellers target US market
    A workshop is underway in Windhoek by manufacturers and traders of gemstones and jewellery in Namibia, to the assess market structure and channels of distribution for the prized products, the Namibia Chamber of Commerce said.
  • Nigerian community cautions compatriots
    The Nigerian Community in Kenya has warned its members to refrain from criminal acts that could taint the image of their country.
  • Powell expected in Bamako Wednesday
    US Secretary of State Colin Powell, accompanied by his wife and a high-powered delegation, is expected in Mali Wednesday on a two-day visit, official sources said Tuesday in Bamako.
  • Liberation Group wants Powell to postpone African tour
    Kenya-based African Liberation Initiative (ALI), Tuesday urged the US Secretary of State Colin Powell, to postpone his African tour until after the Africa Liberation Day, on 25 May.
  • Kenyan Bourse in major plunge
    Trading at Kenya's Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) slumped to an all-time low in April 2001, with the All-share Index declining to below 1,800 mark.

China Daily (

  • Great Measure: China lifts control over car prices
    China's central government delivered a clear signal on May 21 it would lift pricing controls on domestically-made cars, a "great measure'' hailed by analysts to activate auto consumption.
  • Smuggler could avoid death after return
    Premier Zhu Rongji has assured the Canadian government that the country's alleged biggest smuggler Lai Changxing will not be executed if it returns him to face trial, local Hong Kong newspapers reported on Tuesday.
  • US says Chen Shui-bian's visit no impact on China ties
    Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian is expected to meet with New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and US lawmakers Tuesday during a brief private visit which the US State Department described as a stopover with no foreseeable impact on US-China ties.
  • Two HK police officers seriously hurt
    Two police officers were seriously wounded on Tuesday during a shoot-out with a suspected robbery gang in one of Hong Kong's busiest shopping and commercial areas. One police officer suffered a head wound while the other was shot in the shoulder as a gang member opened fire at them, witnesses said.
  • Beijing confident of a good Games if selected
    Inspired by a good evaluation report recently presented to Beijing, which is bidding to host the 2008 Olympic Games, the city's top bid official said yesterday that a brand-new Beijing is ready to show the world an unprecedented Games.
  • Cheney: EP-3 in bad shape, won't fly home
    The damaged U.S. spy plane that made an emergency landing in China last month will probably not be able to fly home and will have to be shipped out in crates, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney said on Sunday. "The airplane will be returned, there have been negotiations under way," Cheney said on NBC's 'Meet the Press'. "My guess is it may well have to be crated out, partly because it's in bad shape."

The Moscow Times (

  • 7 on Trial In Attack On Perm OMON
    Seven men accused of participating in an attack on OMON troops in March are on trial in Dagestan.
  • Little Oil Company Fights Big Arctic War
    Inside the Arctic Circle is a petroleum war zone where Severnaya Neft is determined to leave its mark.
  • Sakharov Honored on 80th Birthday
    The late dissident Andrei Sakharov was honored with ceremonies in Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod on Monday.

    OK, quick narrative of my morning… not much else going on today… I feel good and figured that there was far too much doom and gloom in the world for me to add to it… I like getting up early sometimes...


    I woke up early this morning and wandered the house in the dark. I had to take odd steps in the hall to keep the creaking floor from waking Stefanie, but I managed to get to the kitchen and then out the back door without too much fuss.

    Outside it was humid and cool and the overcast muted sunrise made everything seem just that much greener. I slipped on my shoes and stood outside in my sweats and a t-shirt.

    Two months ago I’d have had a cigarette in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other… I quit smoking a few weeks ago and I was too lazy to fix a pot of coffee… I could still feel the familiar sensation and even checked the pockets of my sweats for a lighter and my smokes… smoking is far more of a comfort addition than nicotine any day…

    I tucked my fingers beneath my arms and walked cross armed around the yard as I took in the new shoots and flowers, some new dill was starting to peep out of the same pot in which I’d planted oregano… damn. I’d have to re-arrange that one - hopefully without killing either one.

    I have three rose bushes that are starting to bloom. One, a climbing rose that’s practically gone wild, was covered with purple-red blooms and it’s spectacular - despite the wild looking flowers. The rain last night weighed them down and most of them drooped from the weight.

    The other red climber was near the corner of the house and it only had a couple of full red blossoms above odd, pale green leaves… I wondered if there was something wrong that would cause the leaves to be so pale.

    But the last one was a prize. This one was a pink, Queen Elizabeth climber that hadn’t bloomed in two years or more. I’d bought it originally seven years ago and it sat in it’s original pot on a cookie sheet for a year in the first apartment, its single pale and sickly shoot stretching in an arc across the wall eagerly catching unwary visitors with its thorns… the second year it sat beside the unused fireplace in our second apartment - I was told by my roommates that it was to go in a place that they would be less likely to get caught by it’s sinister spikes. By this time the cookie sheet base was a rusted mess - but remained beneath it until we moved to a third apartment… where the odd, determined survivor rose went into the ground for the first time.

    We’d moved in late spring and I put it in the ground almost immediately. It stood solitary by the open steps by the back fence, its eager thorns constantly catching people- and most times drawing blood - fucker!

    It bloomed for the first time that year, one single perfect pink rose supported on a long, slender stem… I was intensely proud of it and I heaped praise on it as I pruned the rose from it - then drew back a bloody finger from a vicious thorn- fucker! My own price to pay for beauty, I suppose.

    For the next few years it grew and changed - always growing toward the sidewalk, always catching clothes and skin in its barbs. Everyone hated the damn thing - I thought it was perfection.

    When we moved to our new house I transplanted it - almost killing it in the process and it took all of last year to recover, finally shooting up new canes as it adjusted to the new home… but no blooms …

    …Until this year... Already I’d noticed that there were more buds on it than ever… six. I’d watched them as they went from tiny kisses that puckered skyward with new crimson leaves to bulging pods slowly shifting to a greedy shade of emerald. As I rounded our fence to see the buds that it offered this year I saw a flash of pink through the leaves…

    Three of them had shed back their leafy folds to reveal lipstick pink buds on long, perfect stems… I moved around it, taking special care not to get caught in the thorns, and leaned forward to smell the faint fragrance. Sweetness… I beamed… they would be perfect… as I moved away from these; the wind nodded the canes into my shirt. Of course, when I pulled back from it a thorn caught my arm deep and drew blood… fucker…

    …they will probably be in full bloom by the time I get home today -I’ll need to buy some bactine before I start pruning...

there is no way to thank some people.. i can't tell him he changed a world for me, because he would tell me he simply watched me changing it for myself. i can't tell him that i love him so much for everything he's done for me and for who he is because he would brush it aside and make some insightful remark about the universe, or say something laden with biting ever-humorous sarcasm. i can't really thank him for his shoulder, even though it was there so often, he just won't let me.

so instead i walk and i smile at the universe and i love rain as it falls and seeps through my clothing, as cold or wet as it may leave me, because it is something that he helped me find. my appreciation for the world. my mind opened by someone whose face i have not yet seen. whose fingers, meaty brain have been so much to me.

you made so many things possible for me, and i am sure you're completely unaware of a vast majority of them. i think you prefer it that way, though..

i couldn't have loved him, in the head space i used to live in.. i would have found reason not to, i would have kept my mind closed so tightly. so, despite the fact that you'll never acknowledge this, and i might just as soon expect a satellite to crash into my eye... thank you.

the sun has been gone the past few days, and we are all swimming here in the thick air, it is colder than i'd like it to be. it is easier to wrap myself around it if i imagine the sky a darker gray, the sun shows itself in such a threatening intense white behind a day from which it was excluded. the result is confusion. the trees seem to brace themselves for fury every time the wind slips through their tired leaves.

i am constantly amazed that you can tell what i am thinking even from there, and with nothing more than silence to go on.. and i feel so violated for a moment each time i am reminded how well you know me. it has been nearly a year, and we have slid together so neatly that it scares me, sometimes but it is the sort of fear that would feed anyone. i love that you can stifle swirling thoughts so easily sometimes.. that you can force pointless insecurities completely out of my head just by existing. i love you, so much. thank you for being everything to me, and know that i only find more to love about you every time i blink.
I have a couple of friends who are divorcing.

My wife and I met them about eight years ago. They were a picture perfect couple - he worked as a saleman for a firm that sold industrial products, she stayed home with their two boys with a third on the way. We hit it off well from the first. They were one of our "couple" friends. I could talk to him and my wife to her and everything was great.

They moved away about 4 years ago, so she could go to school. We kept up. We visited. We knew they were having some problems, but we didn't know how bad. Then one day, we get a call from him. He is in town with the kids and wants to go out to eat. They come to the house and we all go the restaurant. At dinner, he breaks the news. Perfectly good dinner, shot to hell. How can you eat with ten-pounds of lead in your stomach?

We have had the horror of watching our two friends become singles. It's like having ringside seats at a flaying. These two who cared for each other once now are at odds. They say all of the right words about how they don't wish the other ill, but you can tell they don't mean it. He feels betrayed, she feels justified. Both mouth words about doing it for the kids. Both act as if life is all the same, but it isn't.

And here we are, feeling like property that gets split up in the divorce. We have let them both know that we are not choosing sides. We won't let them make us part of their conflict. We will see them both and will cry with them and laugh with them. We won't let them bad mouth the other in our presence. As my wife so beautifully put it , "We lost the couple. Losing either of them as individuals would be unbearable."

I got an e-mail from him yesterday that has haunted me since then. It was full of ire and venom. And the question I keep asking myself is this: how can two people who used to care about each other come to this?

Oh my it's not Monday but Tuesday the weekend was SO good I added a day.

Friday the kids went to Grandma's and then Netlvrs_Girl and I went out to dinner with another couple and we had a little play time. Then after sleeping till noon we went to our BDSM club. They had a great demonstration of bondage and suspension. I was tied in a sack and hung from the ceiling a suprisingly calming experience. We then simply hung out and then went home with a girlfriend and went to bed.

The next day was a pot-luck at the club and more demos but this time needle play and fire play.

For those who are freaked out everything is safe, sane and consentual. It's definately NOT for everybody but is very fulfilling in my life.

After injuring myself (not related to the activities of the weekend) and seeing the doctor. I had a great trip so see the in-laws but got hit with a stomach flu.

Well tonight I'm off to a class at the club for dom's and then home to bed.

Why can't I have a few more days in the week to do all of this stuff?

I'm starting to hate email.

I have a nice little website* devoted to medieval Celtic literature, as well as some other stuff (essays, photos from my trip to England, whatever). So why is it my email for that site looks like this?   Add Inches To Your Penis!   UNIVERSTIY DIPLOMAS, LIKE NOW  
pharma65843@freecomm...   HERBAL SEX PILL!   Teen Sluts -- No Age Verification   Teens having sex with dogs and horses (bestia...   Young girls sucking horse dick (bestiality)  

OK--WTF? Especially the last three (oh you crazy Scandinavians!) and why would I want a diploma from a site that can't even spell university or believes in checking for mistakes?

Oh well. Everyone's gotta deal with this. It's the curse of a hotmail account.


I know, it's Geocities. Deal with it. I can't afford anything else.

He absentmindedly twirled a strand of my hair around his finger. I rolled over and snatched a cooling french fry from his napkin before the ants got to it.
He feigned bashfulness. Unsuccessfully.

"I always thought that sunshiny people were stupid. That cheerful was really empty. I thought that it took angst to be deep. You disprove everything."

I considered this, unsure of what to say. I know that the girls he has dated before have some very serious issues they should have dealt with before trying to commit to relationships. I am also the oldest person he has ever dated (by three years), and the only one who has lived independently of her parents. But I didn't know what to tell him.
And then a miraculous little voice came from my mouth. I don't know where my words came from... I have never given these issues enough thought to formulate the marvelous response I gave him.

"When I was younger, I was too full of self-doubt and self-loathing to form a proper identity. But it was easy to make comparisons, and I thought there was more depth in a depressing character than a cheerful one. I was comparing Tori Amos to Madonna and felt like I could identify with the misery, not the bubblegum. But there is no depth to images... only to real identities. It took time and experience and hardships and hard-earned triumphs to find who I want to be. And I'm still exploring and expanding on that. But now that I know that I can be whatever I want, now that I am more than a two-dimensional figure of a person... I can't help but be happy."

He stared at me, not knowing that I wasn't sure where the words had come from.
"You're an amazing person, Jennifer."
"Thank you, darlin."

..And the ants descended on our impromptu picnic, the sun rewarded us with his approving warmth, he lovingly tangled his fingers in my hair, and I pondered what I'd just said. I really have come a long way.

Two days ago, on May 20, 2001, I graduated from Carnegie Mellon University, with a bachelor's degree in computer science. (On an amusing side node, my roommate was somewhat miffed by the title of her degree and was considering petitioning for a spinster's degree).

I'm going to graduate school in the fall, still at CMU, so it's not like I'm making a big change or anything, but this still feels like a fairly major step. In less than 20 days, I will be 21 years old, and I have a college degree. adult by anyone's definition...

And yet, I don't really feel any differently than I did when I graduated from high school.

Right after the graduation, the dean of my college congratulated me and said "Well, now you're a real person.". Maybe that will take a little while to get used to.

Acted on an irrepressable urge to create today. Went to local electronics shop feeling 'let's make robots'. Feeling slightly insane but felt I should go with it. Haven't played with solder since I was a spotty teenager and had forgot what a thrill it was playing with the sticky, metallic drop. Rigged up motors, solar panels, fan blades and LEDs into various largely pointless circuits. Dissected an unused phone unit, scavanging the entrails for a speaker, some switches and assorted components.

Spotted a long arthropod scurrying across my bed. Emptied out a jar of knick-knacks and trapped him. Watched him, with equal measures of revulsion and awe, lapping the base of the jar for a while and decided that my attempt at robotics would be a waste of time.

Finally, saw Amores Peros with girlfriend. Afterwards we talked about her significant ex (again!) whom I am soon to having the pleasure of meeting. Joy...

It was a clear sky and the stars were all out but I didn't recognise them.

I have no food. I have about a dollar to my name. I went to the supermarket, hoping to turn that dollar into macaroni and cheese.

The gods smiled on me.

The macaroni rang up as $2.29; the shelf said $1.99. According to Stop&Shop policy, if something rings up incorrectly, you get one for free.

It took a half hour of arguing with managers, but eventually I got my free macaroni.


I was continuing my job search, hoping to find employment by the end of the month. Today, I scheduled an interview for next week Wednesday (note to self: search E2 for nodes on job interviews), and turned in two applications.

One of the applications was turned in to a radio station which devised a clever way to solicit applications. They arranged for a job fair at a local shopping mall, and were the only employer there. Being the sucker that I was, I submitted an application, even though I may not be qualified to do sales.

The second application was to the local government, for purposes of handling data and maintaining the computer network. At the present, all positions were filled, but my application and resume were kept on file, in case someone finds or creates a vacancy.
I'm miserable.

Not the sort of miserable that people get when they get suicidal or sleep for days or shout at everyone (real or imagined) to just leave the alone, no, this is more of a mid-range miserable.

I considered logging in Sunday and Monday, but I had nothing to say. Nothing to say in a node or a daylog or to anyone in any sort of chat. So I didn't log in.

I spent nearly all of Sunday in bed, alternating between sweating and having the chills. I don't know how high my fever got because I never took my temperature. I don't even know if there's a thermometer there. I wasn't at home. I was tired, and sore, and hot, and cold, and achy, and unhappy, and uncomfortable, and I took out someone else's day as collateral damage, and although I hate the fact that I let someone else down, I'd do it again if the situation arose 'cause I felt that bad. He brought me tissues. They had lotion. I went through an entire box that day. You know you're bad off when you get dehydrated merely from the act of blowing your nose repeatedly.

Yesterday wasn't much different. I woke up in time to call in to work and let them know I wouldn't be there. I then slept til 4pm. I woke up achy, with a runny nose, still feverish and chilled, and with a pounding skull. I felt much better than Sunday. I failed to do anything to get my car fixed. It's a Volvo, so my mechanic can't do anything with it, nor can my three backups. So now I have to hit the yellow pages to find someone who'll do a diagnostic without costing my entire repair budget. But I haven't even tried. I want to, but I can't drum up the energy. I stayed up too late because I couldn't sleep. I went to bed when my brother and husband had a pissing-contest fight over who could be the bigger asshole and told the hubby that he could sleep in the office. He did. I couldn't sleep for an hour.

I woke up before my alarm went off. I had strange dreams through the night and couldn't remember anything other than their strangeness and that they were somewhat disturbing. Dreams I can't remember haunt me. Fragments of them will come floating up from my subconscious for days or weeks after. I can feel this one floating around at the back of my skull, waiting for an opportune time to assert itself into my awareness, tainting anything I might be doing.

I went to work. I do a lot of varied jobs and we've been short-handed at the office, so I wanted to go in and take care of some of the work that crosses my desk that doesn't get handled if I'm no there to handle it. I handled my end of things. Documents that were to have been dealt with over a month ago were found on my desk. I'm not to blame, though, as my desk is something of a dumping grounds. I just need to keep it cleaner. I went through all of the loose papers before I came home. I was there for less than two hours.

I was awake for the entire day. I did nothing of value after coming home. I yet again failed to do anything to speed up the repair of my car. I thought about it for nearly half an hour, but I couldn't call up anything but apathy. I thought about logging on, but it held nothing for me. My head still hurts, I'm still coughing, and I've gone through nearly another box of tissues in the last two days.

I finally logged on. I can't come up with anything I'm even remotely interested in doing while I'm online. I have no interest in noding. I have no interest in reading. I have no interest in games. I have no interest in chatting. I'm depressed.

It's not a great depression. I'm not crying. I don't even feel a hint of a cry, so I have no release there. If I were any more depressed, I could bury myself in The Downward Spiral on endless repeat and feast on that for a few hours til I was ready to come away cleansed, but I am not, so I have no release there. This is an insidious sort of depression. It just sort of erodes away at the will in little pieces. It's so slight, you almost can't notice the slow descent.

I have ICQ running, but I have no interest in reaching out to anyone. That's the greatest sign of my depression. It always is. If I am available, but remain silent (which any who chat with me know is quite unlike me), then I'm likely depressed. If I were merely busy, I'd throw a greeting out to those I consider friends.

Many times, once a condition is acknowledged, then it's reversal is only a matter of time. But this is different. Spotting this is like being on morphine for pain. You know it's there, you can feel it, if only in an abstract way, but you just don't care.

I've fallen asleep into dreams three times since I started writing this. I can't remember anything about them, but I know the whistling of my breathing woke me from the first. It's past my bedtime and I need to sleep. I have work in the morning and a convention this weekend.

This is my first attempt at gonzo journalism. Well, the first *published* attempt...depending on how many downvotes this gets, it may or may not become and extended project -- an extensive record of the significantly disturbing, and occasionally totally pointless aspects of life in a small town in the high desert. This first installment is mostly setup, to get the reader familiar with the territory.

at last, i have come to a grudging truce with the Waste Lands. Without the environmental stresses, i'd have nothing to complain about. with nothing to complain about, i'd have nothing to write about. life would not be worth living without that base level of environmental adversity.

i have finally become truly enculturated, like paul atreides, to this desert hell. i look like i belong, i eat green chile, i can spell Albuquerque... sometimes, i even enjoy the frontier. not just the food, but the people you find there in the dead of the night. the ones who are intimidated by silence and the dull glaze of a murderous intellect. the posturing idiots who fall back at a few quiet words in nihonglish about the peculiar uses one can find for the small electric device in one's left pocket. a few tabs of ephedrine, and the world becomes a crisp, bright whorl...sensation and sound...the taste of blue neon light in the adobe dust.

mirror shades and gary numan cannot separate me from the delicate sociological web. i despise the gaping gringos and their sodden green lawns just as much as the men whose families have lived here since tin suits were in style, if not moreso. yes, i can despise them more. i was once like them, but this place changed me. for nine years i have fought the dust and the sun, starvation and violence, but i fight for the land, as much as i fight against it. i know when the water comes and goes. i don't shower every day. i have no car to wash. what i drink is usually shipped in from canada, where there is more water than there is here. i have learned to live with the burning days and the freezing nights without jerking around with the "climate control" in my apartment until the gas bill goes through the roof. (actually, i'm lucky if the swamp cooler works at all, nevermind if management remembers to turn it on) but some of them, they never learn. they firmly believe that places like rio rathole and the near heights are nice safe middle class neighbourhoods where their children will be safe and happy. *bzzt* you can't walk in the heights, nor can you bicycle, as drivers there seem to believe it's funny to hit cyclists with their car doors as they pass, and pedestrians are viewed as a minor annoyance that one can throw cans at. rio rathole isn't much better. in some places there are still no sidewalks, and yet middle class white housewives think it's paradise, if a bit hard to get grass to grow. they have taken vapid suburbia and tried to transplant it into the burning wastes. what kind of idiocy is that? go home, i tell them, brooklyn is a nicer place. but they won't go, because surely it is better to share a grocery store with dirty mexicans than with communists and faggots. these nice ladies are glad to go see the symphony on campus, as am i, but they'd never go anywhere in the area afterwards in a group of less than eight, because, goodness knows, they might be shot by drug-crazed illegal mexican vagrants! i once offered a tired-looking theatre-goer a caffeine pill to ease the evening, but she clung to her husband insisting i tried to sell her "crack". i shrugged and wandered back to my A-section seat, zipping my leather jacket over my velvet evening gown to keep out the cold. it's funny, though, they live in the areas of town with the second highest rates of murder, burglary and rape, and yet they are afraid to walk my streets at night because it's the "dangerous part of town". i guarantee, the university area has the lowest crime rate of any neighbourhood in albuquerque. why? because we're college students and low-income, single parent families. we don't have the time or the energy to go around plotting against our neighbours, except maybe when they throw loud parties, and then it's time to bust out beethoven's greatest hits and start a stereo war.

i live here. i see it every day. i used to live in the heights, and i, who fear little, was nervous about walking to school, or leaving my window open at night. not because i'd heard stories of violent crimes committed by rampaging high school students, but because those rampaging high school students beat the bejesus out of me, slashed my girlfriend's tires, and frequently threw large rocks at my windows. of course, with me, it was kind of a personal vendetta. i was intelligent, ruthlessly honest, and entirely kamikaze. they couldn't handle the intellectual pressure, so they had to kill me. *shrug* it went on until i dropped out, and rumours went around that i had died. when i came back, incoming freshmen blanched and stuttered in the hallways. "oh my god, you're DEAD!" one shouted at me before backing into his locker and scaring himself. i might add, i'm not an imposing person. i am a good nine or ten inches shorter than my shortest brother, which puts me in at about 5ft even. i'm wiry and knock kneed, i dress like it's 1985, and i wear enough steel on and through my body that i jingle like a reindeer. however, superstition and rumours of death apprently carry one into god status around here. who am i to argue?

enough about the heights with its gangstees and its teenage mothers. back down to the heart of the city, one of the few reasons this town has grown from 400,000 to nearly 1.2 million in the last ten years: the university. on the whole, the school blows. since it is possible to graduate high school with a third-grade reading level, none of the core courses here are particularly challenging, even for a religious studies degree. it's really disappointing, but every now and again, you'll hit upon an elective taught by some fr00tbat professor who loves the subject and teaches it with the fervor of the pulpit and loki's sense of humour. claire waters is one of these. should you ever have the chance to experience one of her medieval studies classes, do it. it is a truly amazing experience, which may or may not include monty python, mediaeval baebes, or getting to whack a classmate in the face with a stuffed cow. plus, you'll likely come out of it saying words like "woad", "rood", and "tharf". or perhaps a class by the visiting dr. wagner, the german christologist, whose sense of absurdity and thick accent make any class worthwhile. i won't even go into last semester's course on the gospels...

classes aside, though, the campus is fantastic. fruit trees that no-one else realizes give edible fruit, a half hidden waterfall (very small, but effective), warm vents from the library climate control (great places to read a book in the snow), and of course, unprotected communications wiring. if i wanted to make a cheap long distance call, i would do it on campus. if i wanted to wreak havoc by resorting a network, i would do it on campus. why? because it's just too easy. mind you, the author does not advocate these actions, so if you do them and get caught, that's your problem, you imbecilic twit. honestly, though, i'm a hacker, not a cracker, and hardware is my game. you give me the pieces, i can put it together and make it go. and if you don't have the pieces, i know where to get them cheaper than you ever dreamed. you want it, i can find it, and not just hardware. whether i'll admit it to you when you ask, or not, i can get it. the question is whether i want to. profits aside for a moment here, there are some things i just won't deal in. i leave the exceptionally dangerous things to stupid people. i really try to stick with the business of selling hardware, repair services, and information. few things happen here that i cannot get data on in less than 24 hours. thankfully, though, no-one ever tells me anything unless i ask. it keeps me out of trouble. it's difficult to get caught up in things you know nothing about.

the remains of a fight:

{begin correspondence}
Date: Tue, 22 May 2001 02:41:46 -0600 (MDT)
From: me
To: thistle
Subject: shooting myself in the foot part II

what i said, you muddle-minded ass, was that it would be difficult to maintain anything over distance. you said you'd forgive me my local indiscretions. all i have wanted, all i have cared about all this time is when i get to be with you. i have done what i have done to stay sane, but you're the only one that i would even be willing to _try_ to stay with. (...) i got so caught up in the act that for a while i was insensate. i lost you. i didn't know what else to do...stupid? me? yes. often. a year later, i barely care if he comes out to see us. i expect i'll put him on to some other girl at outlandish.

i only ever really wanted you, and when you left, i lost my mind. i'm still short on brain cells. i thought you still loved me... maybe i was mistaken. the sex never mattered as much as you did. you're beautiful, for godsake! you're smart and funny and all the things i wished i'd grow up to be. i'm jealous of you, and it keeps me motivated. i love you and it makes me wish i'd died in the hospital the night after we went dancing. i could've slipped away in convulsions, dreaming of you holding my hand, and then i wouldn't have to live with loving you. fine, i made an asinine mistake once. then i corrected it, because i didn't want that, i wanted you. (...)

and did you really think i would attempt to acquire leverage wit hsuch a political statement? i know you don't care what anyone else thinks. on top of which, i wouldn't want you here this weekend, i have enough shit to take care of without you, and i don't need you distracting me. what i want is to see you at least once in a year. maybe that's too demanding. i withdraw my proposal. i wouldn't want to overtax your delicate sentiments.

(...) christ... anything you want. i'll give it back, give it up... is there anything more you want from me? or am i no longer profitable?

i'm sorry i threw up on your floor. you never would have meant this much to me otherwise.

i love you, you sonofabitch. and i miss you.
{end correspondence}

fought with my intelligent and stunning admin/love of my life. thankfully s/he is very forgiving. a few hours later, kicking and screaming forgotten, my brother comes over to have a smoke and bullshit about his girlfriend and good music. hilariously enough, after all the raving about how safe it is here, the girl next door got her window shot in, because her roommate doesn't have any business sense.

the next bleary brother has gotten me hooked on this fantastic techno song, and now every time i turn my head i hear margaret thatcher saying "acid party -- come to the party". on the brighter side, i have at least partially resolved this hellhole i live in, and i figure more will get rearranged before i go to bed. i no longer mind the duststorms and the sand that creeps in around the badly sealed doors and windows of this place. the machines may mind, but i've yet to hear the distinctive sound of a dust-crash. this leaves me with one fairly quick machine with which i can download vital mix components like scruffy the cat's "tiny days", and other things you've never heard of. i wonder if i can find that terrible remix of "10 green bottles"...i'll be shocked if no-one has it. on the brain...

hrm. looking back over this, it looks like the ephedrine induced ravings of an insomnia-crazed city politics junkie. i just can't get away from the politics, can i? no matter where i turn, or how deeply i hide, the rumours invariably trickle down to my greedy info-deprived mind...fuck this. i am going out into the woods with some of the most politically minded people i know, and when i come back, i shall once again declare my thirsts for this swill quenched. (for now, at least...)

if i write enough of this shit, maybe someone will be sick enough to publish it -- bad art and all. although, it should be noted that i am neither as depraved, nor as good with a pencil, as ralph steadman. not even the orange fuzzy bunny strikes quite the chord of horror and disgust as his images from the '72 campaign.

"take you this talisman, one small mexican bean, and remember: go."

i have this poppish optimism swirling about my head. the sort of thing you get from listening to too many punk love songs..."punk rock girl", "olga crack corn", "what i like about you"...and yet for all that i still can't find "i like you too", the gritty punk classic featuring lines like "i like slugs and snails/dripping slime in pails/and i like you, too", or some similar thing. it's been a while, i can't quite remember the words. it was one of my mom's favourite songs. but, yes...poppish optimism... i can do anything. it's like being on lots of good speed, but without the twitches. it's power. it's all in my head. it's like suddenly being a jolly, eight foot tall barbarian, with a quart of mead in one hand and a cudgel in the other. kinda makes me want to sing drinking songs and merrily bash random members of the moral majority upside the head...

i've suddenly decided that as smooth as the transition is, i'm just not happy with "final man" (covenant) right before "angel" (wumpscut). i need to squeeze another track in there, and i also need a version of "angel" that doesn't skip at the three minute mark. *shrug* this is going to be one of the easier mixes i've made, but it will not be _easy_. having a medium which is easier to tweak leads me to want the volume to be fairly consistent on this one. after the disaster that called itself _desert_of_the_real_, i have been trying much harder to balance the volume on things. i'll probably actually cut a new master of _desert_ and send a better copy to the party it was originally intended for. no point in keeping the old tape.

"look i'm a politico! look i'm a dj! look i totally lost my shit!"

shouting at the audiogalaxy client: "don't you ever fucking die?" and suddenly the song i've been downloading for the last two hours at a snail-crawl, which has finally reached 99% done, vanishes from the list. i stare at it for a moment in shock, hoping that means i got it, and not that the user sending it has logged off... only one way to find out. huh. looks like success. unfortunately, the site is no longer responding to http queries or queries from the client. this means that after i finish this download, the client will no longer be able to find the rest of the list. dammit.

hm. this is actually beginning to look like a problem on _my_ end. *gasp* dead giveaway? netscrape, when opening a new window, attempts to load the dead page. perhaps if i wait for this transfer to finish and then reboot the bastard thing, i'll fix it.

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