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The scene: me sitting on a bench in the middle of a somewhat crowded mall, just before closing. I was sweaty - dripping, actually - as I had just finished up a set of Heavy songs on Dance Dance Revolution.

I must have been staring into oblivion, or something on par with such an activity, but I saw two girls walking just ten feet in front of me. One of them said to the other "I need a phone," as she looked ahead into the Verizon Wireless store.

Her friend, a rather cute blonde girl, was obviously unintersted in the whimsical goings on of her friend, as she approched me with quite sparkle in her step:

"Hi! You look like you could use a sticker! Want one?"

"Sure." ::nod::

She placed a Hello Kitty sticker on my sweaty, soaking wet left shoulder.

I smiled, and she walked away.

I did not know this girl, and will likely never see her again.

Maybe strange and wonderful encounters like these are why I get urges to travel an hour to the mall when I otherwise wouldn't.

I really, really like life.

Today, noted science fiction author Neal Stephenson told me that the augmented reality games my project group has built this semester are "cool."

Today, I called my father because in a few short weeks I will be moving to San Francisco for the summer so I may intern at Maxis, makers of The Sims and many other fine non-game computer games, and I wanted to talk to him about the forms I must fill out in order to convince an apartment complex that I will pay the rent like I say I will.

Today, my dad told me about my remaining grandparents, who have reached an age where their fragility is becoming harder to laugh of lightly, and more of a serious day-to-day issue.

Today, my dad told me about consolidating loans after I graduate next year, and how this is a wonderful time to be borrowing money.

Today, my dad told me that my mom has been working less because the hospital hasn't needed her as much lately, and she feels a little worried.

Today, I have been reminded of my mortality, and of my parents' mortality, of my helplessness and insecurities, and that my longed-for future in the games industry represents another step up the ladder for my family, but that any success I win has been paid for by the sacrifices of previous generations.

No pressue.

I swear on the Bible to the entire E2 community that I will not achieve Level 2 with a daylog. I promise you and myself that one thing for right now. If anything else happens, however, that might be the case.

Bring on the GTKY-ness.

Slowly, I’m figuring out my path. My way past here. But it’s going to be tough. And nothing is set in stone.

On May 1, 2003, I took a bike ride (no car, license, or insurance) to the local US recruitment center. This involved a bus ride as well, thank God for bike racks.

My parents want me to join the United States Air Force. In light of all the recent events and the 4-6 years I’ve spent in educational limbo, I’ve apparently shown them that I am not ready for college, and they both think I need to join the military to learn some discipline. Which is fair enough considering that I’ve not had a GPA at the end of a semester that was higher than 1.7 or so. However, I’m not sure that the military is the right option. First of all, I’m a scrawny nerd. I wouldn’t make it past Basic Training. Second of all, it’s a very large decision, and a huge life change that I’m almost sure I’m not ready to undertake. My little comfort bubble that I’ve maintained probably needs to be popped, but I’m one of the individuals that has to make his own way. I’m going to have to discipline myself. And the only way I can achieve that is control. I need to be able to control my own life, and so far, as my previous daylogs maintain, everything I’ve done so far, every educational choice I’ve made, every life choice I’ve made has been so only with consultation from my parents, primarily my mother. I’m tired of collaborating. I am completely dependent upon them. If I wanted to up and leave, I would have to live on the streets and save enough money to get a slum apartment.

Mind you, I’m not going to up and leave.

But I’ve got to do something. I am going to make a decision by myself, this time. I’m going to sit down alone, no distractions, and write a path for my life. It most likely won’t include the military.

Life right now is tough. I’ve got 3 weeks of school left, and my best friend, Crawn2003 on E2, is becoming more and more distanced from me and life in general. I’m very worried about him, and my worry came to a head when he decided he wasn’t going to helm the movie we were filming anymore. His frustration at his life has apparently become unbearable, to the point where he just 'doesn’t care'. That’s his standard answer and mantra now. 'I don’t care'. Anything I say to him, any anger I have towards him is taken in and directed at himself, and he uses that against himself. I can’t talk to him, I can’t explain anything to him, I can’t be a friend, because he doesn’t want one. He’s moving from our home state of Ohio to Florida just to get away from everyone. He thinks he’s going to live a life of solitude.

I’m not sure how he’s going to accomplish that. Read his February 19, 2003 writeup for more details.

To top it all off, our family dog, Kelly, was not at home yesterday when my sister and I came in the door from school. My father came home with her in tow, but when I went outside to greet them, my father solemnly told me to retrieve my sister.

Kelly apparently had a uteral inflammation, and was going to be euthanized in 2.5 hours.

Kelly was a Black Labrador/Chow Chow mix, Lab body, chow face, tongue, and tail. This dog was a member of our family for 11.5 years. When my mother brought her home, about 2-3 weeks after we moved into the house we live in now, my father was extremely angry at her. She didn’t tell him until 6 months later, when he inevitably became attached to the animal, that she had paid $35 for her. So much for anger.

Kelly grew up a loyal mutt. The playful puppy inside all dogs was active all through her long life, and she never failed to bring a smile to my face with her antics. If my parents argued, she’d slink into my room with sad eyes and hover around my legs. The mention of the words 'bone' or 'walk' were always somewhat taboo, unless the treat was actually going to be given, because Kelly would become too excited and rambunctious, to the amusement of all. If a stranger or shadowy figure walked within a 20 foot radius of our backyard, Kelly would let us know right away. To all those who tell me that dogs can’t smile, I say bullshit. This dog was one of the happiest I’ve seen, and one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to endure, is being in the examination room when Kelly was given the injection that would end her life.

My sister elected to stay home and watch my disabled half-sister, and my tearful mother and very quiet father and I all piled into the car, Kelly in tow. She sat on the backseat, and laid down on the blanket we had placed there for her. As the car moved, she did something that she’d never done before in a moving vehicle. She got up and looked out the window, panting solemnly. She seemed to know what was waiting for her, and her movements were pointed and fluid.

We arrived at the hospital, and were shown to our 10 foot by 15 foot exam room, and told that the nurse would be in shortly. We waited for about 20 minutes, the three of us, as Kelly walked around, slowly, panting all the while, and dripping small drops of blood from her rear end (which she then proceeded to lick up). We all took turns petting and stroking her, and as the nurse came in with an assistant, bottle of fluid, needle, and electric shaver, we all said our goodbyes. My father and mother both knelt down beside the dog, and the nurse began briefing us, in a quiet, solemn tone, on what was going to happen. She then began to shave a small patch of Kelly’s right foreleg. Being afraid of small buzzing objects, or larger ones like vacuum cleaners, Kelly was surprisingly still when this happened.

The nurse then said she was going to insert the needle, and begin the injection. As she did so, I stood up and leaned on the exam table, heart beating in my chest. My mother and father both had hands on Kelly’s back and side and the assistant was down next to them. The nurse kept a running dialog of what was happening, how Kelly would slowly drift off, and how she might cry a little bit in confusion. She did not, and as I gave in and knelt down behind the assistant to put my hand on the increasingly lifeless body of our beloved family pet, I could tell that she was almost gone, and when her head finally fell, and the nurse withdrew the needle and let her go, my parents broke down. It was the first time I had ever seen my father cry. He rarely ever shows emotion more than anger, or happiness. He’s not an angry man, but when he gets angry, he’s unbreakable. Seeing him break down was probably the hardest part of the entire procedure, and a sight I will never forget.

To those who wonder how a family can grieve over an animal, I say get a dog. If you treat it right, and you nurture it, it will no longer be an animal. It will be a part of your life, and family, and I dare you to tell me that you don’t feel any emotion when you have to make the decision to end it’s life.

We walked out of the veterinarian’s offices into the overcast, mild weather of Dayton, Ohio, got in the car, and my father started the engine, and flipped on the radio. As he flipped stations, the familiar climax of Led Zeppelin’s epic 'Stairway to Heaven' began to play. My father, who normally would flip the radio in frustration at the classic, but overplayed song, made no move to change the station.

Sitting in the back of the car, and leaving behind the fifth member of our family in a limp, lifeless heap after watching it die, I just had to laugh at the irony.

"A problem
precisely defined...
is already partially solved"

I need to vent, and share my thoughts of the day - E2 is about "everything" and I believe there's a chance that someone might read this and get a ball rolling....

I know, I know, I know - "I'm just one person what can I do?"

That's how I feel, and how many feel about so many things.

But in a few years I'll have 20+ hours a week to devote to some cause, which one to choose? That's a tough decision because there are so many things I feel passionately about. I've always enjoyed the "Cop chase" type shows. But lately every time I watch them I feel like screaming. I end up ranting and raving if any poor soul happens to be around to listen. I no longer enjoy them - by the time they are over I am so tense and full of desire to change things that I feel like exploding.

Here's the bottom line - and I will try to say this calmly - breathing deep.

These idiots run because the consequences OF running are no more severe than getting caught, should they not outrun the cops.

What part of CHANGE THAT does our so-called legal system not understand?

How many INNOCENT people have to die, or get injured before this changes?

For each and every person they put at risk during the chase it should be ONE count of attempted murder. PERIOD.

If the chase results were to be adding up like a cash register of years in jail years per minute - the incredible # of car chases per year would change drastically.

There are hundreds of people killed every year by people running from police for something like an outstanding warrant that may mean at most year in jail. For an ounce of pot in their pocket that might mean a year or two in jail. Running because he's stolen a car and may face a few years in jail for it...

Every time I hear at the end of these shows how he spent a year in jail... for his prior warrants. THIS after putting dozens or even hundreds of people at risk of DYING I just want to scream.

IF as this person were racing down the road like a madman he was counting years in jail for each car he almost hits, each person he puts at risk, and weighs that against the months or year he may spend in jail if he stops - some may think twice.

There are so many things that matter to me and are important to me but I'd really like to get a grass roots movement ,going, when time permits me in a few years, to get something done about this. What I'd like to see done about this is - whenever it's being filmed, and it usually is, each and every person put at risk during the high speed chase is counted as ONE count of attempted murder. Felon's within months after this being put into effect, will have to weigh the consequences of continuing the chase - and the consequences of giving up.

Right now - they figure if they can get away this pursuit is worth it because the penalties of risking dozens or hundreds of innocent lives is so minimal. This is sickening. This has GOT TO STOP. Something has to be done about it. How can our legal system justify a slap on the wrist for putting dozens or hundreds of people at risk?
Ouch! Banging head on keyboard

I honestly believe that if a felon running from the potential of a year or two in jail - KNEW he would be facing a year or two in jail for every person he put at risk during this chase - would be much less likely to continue to run.

Something has to be done to save the innocent lives of those on the roads with these maniacs, and that something has to be - changing the laws. I'd like to see those laws change before hundreds more have to die or be seriouly injured. But as I said - I'm just one person what can I do? I think about all those in history who were believed they were just one person - and yet made a difference. I'd hope that I can as well, or reach someone who can.

The next person to die from being on the road with some guy who was running because he didn't want to spend a year in jail - is going to die BECAUSE our laws make it worth it to the criminal to run. Something can be done about this. And needs to be. I'd really like to see someone, if not me, get this ball rolling...
It's clear our legal system is clueless, and couldn't get a clue if it were in a herd of horny clues, in the middle of clue mating season, covered in clue musk. But I'd like to see them get-a-fucking-clue before another innocent bystander has to die.

If someone here can write really well and would know how to write up or get a petition started to get this idea on the drawing board please do so.

Also I'd be intrested in knowing who we'd contact to get the ball rolling - perhaps those working for M.A.D.D. could give us some incite on that if we can get a clear agenda written up?

May 3rd, 2003; 10:30PM CST. Jackson, Tennessee.

It was a hot and sticky day, weather reports forcasted heavy
rains, strong storms. We knew this already, for the day,
like oh so many before it, was hot and sticky as well.

By nightfall, things started to cool down, tempatures fell,
rapidly. Storms rumbled from the far west, nothing too
evident, but we all kept our eyes on the radar. me? In
my bedroom, on the same terminal that exists today, still.

It was a careful balancing act, on the fairly newish KDS
Xflat monitor at full resolution, balancing two browsers,
watching, waiting for armageddon day on EVE-online, a role
playing game which I had signed up for not too long ago.
Little did I know that this night, and the following day,
would indeed be, armageddon day for us.

I kept my eye on the radar, weather.com providing
semi-informative and frequent news updates. We knew by
the line of storms that it would be a noisy night. The more
rain the better, it helps you sleep better, at least it did.

Time passed, the storms got closer, tornado watches were
issued, like so many times before. We didn't pay much
attention to them, about this time every year, the weather
gets bad, more watches come out than warnings, and most
of the time, it's just a heavy rain, followed by a very
cool following day.

I took another look at the clock, waiting for armageddon day
at eve. I sent a final few messages across AIM.

"We've got possible tornados coming this way hun, if I fall
offline, I've probably lost power. I'll talk to you as soon
as I can."

In the distance, I could hear a faint squeal, I couldn't
make it out, it sounded like sirens, but the fans in my room
drowned out the noise. There was a quiet knock at the door.
I knew it was my sister, she's so afraid of angering me that
she barely makes her presence known.

"Do you hear the sirens?", she asked.
"Yes."

My suspicions were confirmed, a rain had started by now,
not hard yet. thunder rumbled louder in the distance.

Sirens were the worst thing you could hear, that meant,
regardless of the weather reports, the sirens were 2 minutes
late for anything and everything, a funnel cloud was spotted.
somewhere, by someone.

We headed downstairs, after all, the sirens meant that only
a funnel was spotted, not an actual touchdown, and since
madison county is so large, it was most likely not even
near us.

"Have you been watching the weather?" I asked
"All night long", she said. She had her inflateable matress
sprawled out on the floor, she was spending the night
just for these storms. Our grandmother and one of her daughters
went to memphis to assist their elder family for the week.

I continued to watch the news, staring at the reporters
and the radar map, showing a huge blob of dark red, purple,
a massive storm cell approaching Jackson. It didn't look
preety, it looked frightening, even on tv radar.
The lightning quickened, rumbled louder.

"Go wake momma up", I said
"I don't want to make her angry", said my sister.
She was so afraid of angering everyone.

I went upstairs, to do the deed myself. Knocking several
times hard on the door "what?!" she snapped, frustrated
from someone breaking her slumber.

"Wake up and get downstairs if you want to live, we've
got tornados", I said. she quickly agreed that downstairs
was best, woke her boyfriend up, and she quickly came
downstairs. He remained, for whatever reason.

My sister and mother remained infront of the couch,
downstairs, watching the news, the approaching storm cell
grow meaner, wider, and come at us faster. I rolled back
the blinds on the sliding glass windows, opened up the
doors, and looked outside at the dark sky.

The lightning was getting quicker, much quicker, it preety
much kept the sky lit up, we knew it was fast approaching overhead.

You couldn't make out nothing in the sky, except for the dark
ugly massive clouds with low clearance overhead.
Her boyfriend finally came downstairs.

"Ya know, we could definitely use a 20 foot wide-beam
spotlight out here right now pointed at the sky", I said.
"Heh, yeah.", he replyed.

Time passed, I looked back and forth, switching from door
to TV, both happened to be conviently located next to each
other. The time was roughly 10:50PM CST. the TV started
flickering with electrical interruptions, the lightning
was interrupting power supplys at the tv station, and it was
getting more and more evident that this storm was going to
be very large.

The sirens went off again. "We need to ge in the hallway"
I said. and was the first to pile up with pillows,
blankets, everything I had to protect me from a crashing
second story.

My sister followed suite, we left the TV on so we could
hear it from the hallway, closed the glass window, and shut
the blinds incase glass broke, it would get mostly caught.
My mother followed my sister, sucking down one more
cancer stick, and piling up more pillows.

Mr. Cock'n'balls, her boyfriend, decided he could tough out
the storm, and continued walking around the house.
The power died at about 11:10PM, lighting was so frequent,
this is what we attributed the loss to. We huddled up in
the hall, completly unprepaired for the loss of power.

Scrambling together flashlights, candles we got a little light
back. Minutes passed, the rain turned into softball sized
hail that crashed against windows. broke glass out of cars.

Moments more passed, it got extremly quiet. We blinked in
the low-light, and immediately, a strong sucking noise
came from the door to my right. The best way to describe it
is the noise produced by trying to suck the last drops of
coke from the bottom of a cup with a straw, amplified 10 fold.

Things were definitely not good. This noise occured again.
This wasn't just any old noise generated by wind, this
was pressure difference caused by a wind vortex called
a tornado, a sudden pressure difference outside could generate
this horrible noise.

Winds picked up, faster and faster, everything went dead
silent again, the noise was heard once more, water blew
in on the floor under the door, we only noticed this later.

Everything eventually calmed down, we got up, streched out,
and went to bed, in the powerless night. hoping electricity
would come back on in the morning.

I woke up at 7AM the heat was starting to build up in
the house already.

We all piled in the car to find out what the tornado's did.

Downtown Jackson was destroyed. Postoffice? gone. Aeneas
Internet? gone. Power lines were snapped like toothpicks,
trees were TWISTED in half, split in two, and just plain
uprooted.

This was several times more powerful than the storms of '99.

Reports came in of missing people, two dead in the city
already, a mother and her child crushed under their
chimney.

There wasn't a street, a single block with some kind of damage to it.

It's thursday now, 16 lives lost in the strongest tornado
to ever hit West Tennessee. a "strong F3" by the NWS, an "F4"
by the Jackson Sun, which had to reprint at Union University
due to lack of power. Winds between 186 and 201mph.

Power was lost to both water treatment plants, stop lights
were ripped from their lines and smeared on the roads like
a skid mark. the town was in chaos, no water pressure, nothing.


Power finally came back on this afternoon.

These events are true, and occured May 3rd, 2003 at ~11:20PM CST.

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