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In response to the replies concerning my writeup in May 4, 2002-

The world is just not full of confusing, unpredictable guys. It is full of confusing, unpredictable people! Let's face it, no matter how open and truthfull we may all want to be, it is not going to happen. We will eventually end up holding something back, not telling everything we know or feel. We will wait too long to say something. We will tell the wrong person the wrong thing.

Only when two people try to be as open as possible with each other will the relationship even have a chance of succeeding. But often before two people are in a relationship, they forget that you still need to be open with the other person. I'm quite guilty of this. As humans we are afraid of rejection. You share your feeling and truthful, you may be rejected. Heck, you may be called some pretty bad names, given some pretty bad looks, and not talked to for some time by that person. But we still need to be truthful, it's for the other person to learn how to deal with the truth.*

But I'm not the best person to get relationship advice from. I have no present boyfriend, and I am not totally honest with the guy I like. My advice comes with no guarantee. Please take it as what you will.

Something I forgot to add to May 4, 2002 that I had learned lately is that guys can be really sweet and caring. Some guys seem to be able to say just the right thing at just the right time!

*I in NO way would like to imply that you should be honest with someone with the sole purpose of hurting them. The truth should be used as a tool to improve things, not destroy them.

Sometimes, in a perfect moment of clarity, you just get it: the whole enchilada. Information comes at you so fast you can't believe what you're seeing. The picture gets bigger yet whole field of view remain in focus. More details become clear as the resolution goes to infinite. Your mind kicks into overdrive as it adapts to the higher bandwidth. You're body moves from the physical to the spiritual and it happens: epiphany. Your mind has created a new idea.

This idea is perfect. It has the genesis of life hidden within it since the idea itself is somewhat about all ideas as a whole. It has no name yet. It is raw, uncooked. I need to give it form and definition. My tool of choice: the computer. For, I am now and forever a geek.

Writing programs is so much more than just typing code. Although, typing code is by far the most tangible way to capture the idea. I need to make something with my hands to transcend from the spiritual back to the physical.

But somewhere along the way the perfect idea falls victim to my imperfect skills. They say the devil is in the details. Well, they're right there in that so many details would be required to perfectly capture the idea that it would take a lifetime just to write one program. Maybe it's a good thing that new ideas only happen once in a while so that you have time to explore without the interruption of yet another idea.

More recently, I'm finding that my ideas are interrelated. Not so much having the same idea over and over but rather having new ideas that fit neatly into the patterns that are so familiar. There is a layering effect. As I write one program, I am mindful of all the other programs that I have written reusing parts that are reusable, forging new links between them and then filling in the rest. I have no system that I follow. Instinct leads me.

I'm not going to tell you what my idea is. I can't. It's too new and too big and if I could write it here in a few words, well, then it wouldn't be much of an idea would it? But stay tuned for more details.

One of my neighbor's has an old blue Pontiac Sunbird. It is parked outside my bedroom's sliding glass door. At around 5:30am EDT it's horn started to lay on but there is no car alarm or anyone inside the car. I tried banging on my neighbor's door but apparently THEY are not disturbed by their own car horn going off.

I'd see if I could open up their hood and disconnect their car battery but I don't feel like get seen/caught doing that, especially with the f*cking horn going off attracting attention. I'd call the fuzz, but thats too much so I paged the apartment complex maintenance people.

Why try to sleep when I can node?

i just got The Call.

both grandparents on my mother's side are now dead, 10 days shy of a year apart.

and i don't know how i feel.

i mean, my grandfather was kind of a shock. we knew it would be soon but not amazingly soon and not dropping dead of a heart attack at midnight.

but my grandmother went and went suffering.

maybe focusing on the technical details will help.

she had small cell lung cancer, which had spread to the rest of her body, destroying basically every organ in her body except her heart.

no, that doesn't help. it reminds me how wildly her heart was beating yesterday as she struggled to breathe, that pulse cutting through those nearly non-existant wrists.. it really was like a hot knife through butter, you know. her veins were so small and hot and almost sharp beneath the soft skin, her hands blackened by lack of oxygen and warm with tumor fever.

i was there yesterday. she really wasn't. we had started giving her morphine or its synthesis for the pain (we hadn't all day); that seemed to bring her back into herself. this morning she started moaning. just long, low, heartbreaking moans; really not the last thing you want to hear your grandmother's voice (even if by now you're fairly certain there's not much of her left) do.

the morphine would calm her down; the hospice told us to just give her as much as she needs since she's trying to let go but she just WOULD NOT FUCKING LEFT GO and i know that's a horrible thing to think that i'm glad it's over but i am because she's not suffering anymore.

it's been bad for a couple of weeks now.

we knew about the cancer since mid-april i think.

sometime around then my aunt took her to her house in lindenhurst where my aunt, my mother, and i moved after i came back from school. so my grandmother died in what was essentially my room.

i called the house on the friday before we were leaving for boston. my grandmother answered the phone and sounded fine. i told her i was going to boston and that i loved her.

it's always a good idea to tell people you love them if you do.

as jen and i were packing up the car to go my mother called from st. louis. (she was transferred there in october after American bought TWA. the combination of this, the September 11th attacks, and my dot com failing exiled me to Jersey). she told me not to go to Boston since my grandmother was not supposed to last the night. Since we had a near scare last week, we reluctantly agreed.

She rallied that Saturday, altho we never saw it.

And a small part of me is still selfishly mad that we didn't get to go that weekend, that she didn't die that weekend making our staying home "worth it".

and i'm realizing as i write this that i'm barely crying. it's like it's still an abstract concept. like the woman who practically raised me (since my parents worked long hours and my grandparents lived downstairs from us; in an interesting twist of fate, my own son lives with his grandparents) is still alive, is still standing in the kitchen cooking or playing cards with her grandchildren. she's not lying in a hospital-type bed (but not a hospital bed because she didn't want to die in a hospital) with dark hands and feet and lips and her jaw hanging open and her face sunken and looking i swear like fucking Christopher Walken.

and as much as i wanted her to let go i didn't really want her to, i wanted her pain to end but i wanted it to be over and her to be well again and she just was never supposed to die.

and a part of me even blames myself because when i was young i promised her i'd never let her get old and then i went away and when i got back she was.

which is silly i know but do we ever really grow out of childhood fears and superstitions?

at least i got a few things accomplished.

i got most of her recipes. she was an excellent cook.

and the last thing i told her was that i loved her. it was a fairly conscious choice too; not that it was hard to tell her; quite the opposite because i do (did?) love her. she was a wonderful person who loved all of her grandchildren.

i can't keep writing about this. i might never stop. but please do me a favor. if you have someone you love don't forget to tell them that.

life's too quick a thing.

The last thing I expected to happen to me today was to have two cups of ice water thrown at me outside in the unseasonable cold 48-degree New England night.

But that's what happened.

By some complete strangers, who were aiming at some other complete strangers who were assumedly (to the splashers) in the spot that I and my friends were, in reality, occupying.

At least I didn't drip much.

The Sweet Smell of Survival
How Pixy Stix Saved my Ass

Wednesday, I was told not to come back to my place of work. It's a long story, and one that I don't really care to explain in detail here. I was screwed over by a coworker, and was fired as if from a cannon by Human Resources.

Rent is due. Actually, rent is several days overdue, but my landlords are usually willing to let me slide a few days, since I've lived here for so long.

And today was a ShrineCon, which meant trying to sell hentai books and other stuff to make a little extra cash. Normally, I take that extra cash, and buy some little luxuries - a toy here, a movie there, a book or three perhaps. But not today.

Among one of my newer items this time around is Pixy Stix. Not the tiny little paper tubes, though... these are the 18" long Giant Pixy Stix. I sell them for a dollar, and they sell well. I was beyond broke (Not counting money already set aside for rent) before I arrived at the Convention, and I had enough to cover the remainder of my rent by the time the convention closed. Not enough sales to make a living off of, unfortunately, but enough to cover my shortages.

In a way, it's sad that a plastic tube full of artificially-colored, artificially-flavored sugar would be my best-selling item, but if it sells, I'd be a fool not capitalize on it as much as I can.

Today is the first day of my trip to San Francisco. I was talking with a friend recently about this trip, and it turned out that he and I would both be flying on the same day. At this moment, he is flying to Brussels.
"Brussels?" I exclaimed. "From London? That hardly warrants space travel".
It was a braino, caused by reading too much Sci-Fi. Space travel is nearly what we do though. Today, my friend and I strapped ourselves into hulking winged submarines and stayed in the air thanks to aerodynamics and bastard noisy engines.

There is nothing more boring than transatlantic flight. At least putting in that little extra effort to make it into space would bring the benefit of weightlessness. I believe the big airlines would find a way around it though. Too dangerous. Consider ducking your head to avoid lumpy clouds of vomit. Imagine spilled drinks floating around in fizzy multi-coloured bubbles.

I am flying from London Heathrow to San Francisco direct on Virgin Atlantic. This flight will last for just over 10 hours. As I type this, I'm nearly half way through it. I managed this feat by employing a variety of time-wasting techniques. I ate the cute little cooked chicken dinner. It doesn't really matter what the meal was, it was the chicken dish. It seems to always be a choice between chicken and salmon. Vegetarian if you requested it in advance. I also drank an appalling gin and tonic (no lemon and no ice. Foul). I watched an in-flight movie. I put in my complementary Virgin earplugs before covering them with my noise cancelling headphones (purchased last trip. The best $100 I ever spent) and having a bit of a nap. I woke up over Greenland and took some digital snaps. I walked aimlessly up and down this aisle. For a change of scenery I tried walking the other aisle too. I visited the toilet more often than I strictly needed to. Now I'm not sure how I'll make it through the rest of the flight. Perhaps another film. There's enough time for two. I once read all of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance from cover to cover on a flight to Chicago. I once read Jurrasic Park in one sitting while waiting for a delayed flight in Greece. I think - when this turbulence calms down a bit - I might finish Iscaac Asimov's Foundation.

This is my first flight on Virgin. Work usually makes me fly American Airlines, which nearly always hub in Chicago. Flying direct is much better. The only thing more boring than transatlantic flight is waiting for two hours in O'Hare. For such a busy airport it is grossly and unnecessarily dull.

At 6' 4", I am pretty tall. Whenever I arrive at a check-in desk I stand as tall as I can. It reminds me of buying booze at various pubs and off-licences aged 17. Then I always got away with it. These days the check-in staff usually take pity on me and put me in a bulkhead or emergency exit seat. The extra legroom is very much appreciated. As an added bonus I get to chat with one or two of the flight crew at takeoff and landing. They have these neat little fold-out seats which face the able-bodied passengers sitting next to the emergency exits. Today's stewardess really obviously enjoys her job. Today she is working a 10 hour flight to San Francisco where she will make a two day stopover. She's already planning to visit Macy's. For the past six months the jet-lag has been getting to her. Virgin Atlantic doesn't fly short distances. They go to various destinations in the US plus Hong Kong, Barbados... all places with 6 or 8 hour time differences. Two days is not long enough to acclimatize. She suffers two nights of insomnia in the US, the two in the UK. This pattern is really getting to her. She looks exhausted. I hope she gets the transfer to ground crew for which she's applied.

My trip will last four nights. Almost enough time to get properly used to living on Pacific time before flying back on Thursday. I've heard that most people's body clocks are capable of shifting one hour per day, but that travelling East is worst. I think I recover a little faster than that, but it's an interesting rule of thumb. I'm considering living on a much more Eastern timezone while I'm in California. If I go to sleep at 8 pm and wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning then I might return to normal twice as quickly. It's a good plan and I've always talked about doing it. The other benefit, for the frequent business traveller, is that you are also able to work more closely with your colleagues in the UK. That doesn't affect me this week though. My colleagues are well aware that I've abandoned them for a week. I won't be checking email and I won't be logging on to E2 for a week either. Can I cope? I think the prospect of meeting several NoCal noders in the flesh is going to help. It's hardly going cold turkey if you get to meet other noders.

Until I get a chance to add a writeup in May 8, 2002 (the day of the meet itself) I might just add that it was excellent fun and well worth the flight. Sadly I also had to do some work during the week, but Wednesday night was amazing. Food. Drink. Conversation. Friends. Views. Wow.

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