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Ahhhhh Friday. The day before freedom. The end of the week, the start of a weekend.

The sun is shining and it promises to be hot out there today. Summer is swelling the heart of Melbourne, The Cup is Tuesday - public holiday - and everyone is chatting, about where they are fleeing to over the long weekend.

I woke early this morning nudging Girlfriend into consciousness, then smacked the alarm clock and we both went back to sleep for an hour. The problem with this? We are going interstate for the weekend, leaving from work, so the next hour was spent frantically packing to be at work early enough so we could both leave early...

I am looking forward to this weekend, it's an SCA event to decide the next King of Lochac. I intend to fight for it, my hopes are not that high, but *shrug* as the saying goes, 'the sun can shine on even a dogs arse somedays' .. heh heh heh hopefully all the other competitors will have dysentery and/or bad headaches and I can be KING! hurrah.. ahh it's nice to dream.

The move went 'well'. CHICKS! If they listened to me in the first place... Give them what they want, and _then_ they realise that you might have known they didn't really want the reality of it all... But the rooms have been reversed, boxes have been moved. I even 'tidied' the shed - if u call re-arranging everything so I could fit more in 'tidy' ;)

There is a distinct air of uneasiness here in my office today. I hope it is because I want to leave early and am fearing the worst. It's a subtle feeling, a really low level creep, that has me worried that my entire house of cards is about to come crashing down around me. Gee I just hope it's cause i only had 4 and a bit hours sleep last night...


I have since spoken with and interacted with enough work collegues for this feeling to pass.. it's a wonderfully warm afternoon, and I am looking forward to leaving this office and hitting the open road. The sunroof open, my sun glasses on, music booming, my gorgeous girlfriend by myside, cruise control holding us on speed.. AHhhhhhh could anything be more exciting???

Everyone's got their Egypt

In some places of the world it's still Thursday. Thursday evening. Because the rest of the world has no idea about places like Cookeville Tennessee and could probably care less that schools like Tennessee Technological University are located there, is the "party night". A party night because Tennessee Technological University is a suitcase college. For those of you that a) go to a large university or b) are not in college and do not yet understand all the inner workings of the social systems set up, a suitcase college is one in which the majority of the pupils live off campus and commute or those who do live on campus go home on weekends. Tennessee Tech is one of those schools.

By and large, it's safe to say that there are not many people that haven’t been to the "Joe" at least once in their college days here in Cookeville, Tennessee. "Cotton Eyed Joe" is the local club scene. Cotton Eyed Joe is the local hangout Thursday night, where it's known as "lady's night" and longnecks are $4.50, but cheaper for women. It's a simple business tactic to lure men into the club to get women drunk off of cheap alcohol and parlay their desire for wild animal sex on the dance floor. But hey, it works very well from a business standpoint. Being the smart business people they are, the owners/operators of the CEJ make lady's night fall on Thursday -- the commonly accepted start of the weekend here at Tennessee Tech. The reason being that a disproportional amount of students go home on the weekends -- to see their girlfriends, to see their garage kept car, to see their hometown that only a week prior they were going home to see. Being an RA, this can make for a hectic Thursday evening, and a lonesome but peaceful weekend. Everyone goes back from whence they came, and all is quite on the western front.

Home is an interesting place for me. I don't have one. Not in the physical sense -- I'm not homeless; but in the more philosophical or psychological sense of the word, my heart belongs nowhere. Being a military brat, moving was a way of life. And now, here I am stuck in a city that's a coffee stain on the map, and my home is is one hundred miles away. It's so far away, but not far enough sometimes. My parents are wonderful, but that town has just been so awful to me. Murfreesboro -- The geographical center of Tennessee. This weekend I am one of those kids -- going home; making this place which we live to enrich our lives, learn about the sciences, that much more desolate and empty. Much apprehension lies in this venture -- I haven’t been home all semester. Ghosts of shattered dreams and skeletons of lives long past still linger. The dead and the damned lives that cannot touch me here come in contact with me when I step foot in that godforsaken city... the godforsaken island. I suppose, there I'll find things just as I left them about three months ago. Perhaps another McDonalds or another Wal Mart will have popped up in my absence, but life still goes on -- indifferent.

I suppose I will find my old flame still doing the things she's always doing... In school, working hard, living. We might go get some coffee, or we might just sit at Waffle house till the wee hours of the morning like old times. We might not see each other at all. I think, sometimes, I'm still in love with her. It's been -- nearly 5 months. Perhaps it's just that old nostalgia that stressed engineering students might feel every once in a while when they get a moment of peace. While lying in bed some random evening as the cool autumn air swirls in the window -- bringing with it the smells of memories, the smell of love. I'm not sure she thinks about me much anymore, but I suppose it doesn't matter. What's in a place anyway? (more that meets the eye).

It's times like these that the ghosts of the past lurk and snicker in the silence. Everyone deals one way or the other, I guess.

*lifts a glass to two years on e2*

wow, it's odd, it's gotten me thinking about my first write-up here and about what i was doing two years ago.

i'm in a completely different place not to mention city. i mean, yeah, from nashville to memphis isn't huge, but it's so difficult to get away on the weekends that nashville seems no closer than visiting my friend in seattle. these two years, i've been getting progressively worse and better at noding. oh, and, of course, lazy as hell as the years have passed.

some things remain the same:it still takes me forever to link things, i have yet to write more than one or two factual nodes, i remain in awe of the forces that move me and i dwell too much on the feelings of my journey, but ya know what? it doesn't matter. life keeps on going around me, no matter how many posts i have on here. life is busy, life is my choice to be lazy, life is my choice to blow things off, and life is my choice to make a mark. we're all in the pursuit of what makes us happy, i'm in the midst of realizing that happiness is relative, and for that, i'm greatly pleased.

well, here's to e2...may my blubbering scrawlings live on in undeserved infamy...


and may i never capitalize my letters...

NaNoWriMo is an intriguing idea, isn't it? I've been vaguely toying with the idea of writing something for it. Never mind the quality, just get it down.

But what to write about? I couldn't think of anything amusing or interesting enough to hold even my own attention span for 50,000 words. I often feel like a complete blank these days. I'm blank, I feel like I have nothing to say for myself, other than 'yes please' when someone offers to make tea. Which reminds me...

*slurp*

Anyway, they say you have to write about what you know. Well... I don't know much. Not much in the way of life experience. Write about what you know... Well, I decided my novel would be about a guy called Colin who decides to write a novel for NaNoWriMo.

It's a bit recursive. In chapter one, he decides to write his novel about him writing his novel, sitting down at his desk with his iBook, and starting to write. The second chapter recounts what he writes. The third chapter, well... that recounts what his main character wrote.

It kinda goes on like this for quite a while, until one of the guys named Colin realises he could simply write a recursive perl script to write the novel for him up to the point where he's got 50,000 words, at which point, having reached the base case of the recursion, the main character realises he can simply write a perl script.

Job done. I figure all I have to do now is wait for the royalties to start pouring in, and by that time I'll have come up with my inspiration for a sequel. Ker-ching!

You may think the plot sounds kinda lame, but I can take heart at least in the knowledge that, lame as it may be, Donnie Darko's plot was much lamer and that still managed to sucker me out of £5.80.

Warning: Language used.

It's decision time in my world again. It's been awhile now creeping up. In the most sensible manner I could muster (which is big leap for me, Ms. Out-Of-Her-Tiny-Mind) I've been trying to analyse it, to probe at it, to make sure that it's not what I think it is.

Push.
Poke.
Prod.
Ouch!

It's tender and it hurts. It's lurking and getting darker. I again I have a choice. To deal with it in the best way I can and try to get over it. Ride out the rough patch. I could probably do it. I may not have managed before but there have been victories, there have been times when it's all be good and clean and really good. So I know I don't need the shit that they try and push on me. The only drugs I want they won't give me anyway. Even though it would be a damm fine idea.

But then you know there is the easy route. So easy all I have to do is book an appointment and make sure my hair looks really wild and my complexion looks like the bottom of a chip fryer in Brixton and I'm sorted. Good bye everything, goodbye 'ouch' spot, goodbye fucking weird dreams (good bye all dreams), good bye irrationality and goodbye paranoia. I know a few people who would directly benefit form me being on meds again.

But I also know that I'm not gonna get fuck all done whilst I'm on them, the idea of freezing my life in spot for as long as I want to, or as long as the doctors keep handing me repeat prescriptions, is pretty bloody tempting. It would be great to be able to freeze just at the point I was falling in love, or just at the point when I knew that I was almost happy. It would be fucking brilliant to be able to stay in that stasis for awhile. But the NHS, the bastards, they only seem to want know me when I'm tired and stressed and rather fed up of the whole thing. So all the only states I ever get to be kept in are 'pissed off' and 'fucking pissed off'.

Anyway, so now I've poured angst all over my keyboard and enlightened you with all sorts of things about me that mean fuck all to anyone else, rambled for awhile without a point and wasted time, energy and words, lots of words, that I could be using to write my NaNoWriMo masterpiece, do I feel any better? Have I reached any grand conclusion?

Yeah, I have. My conclusion is that I need to drink more and whine less and probably stop wasting company time on shit like this.

Fuck angst. Fuck meds. Anyway I'm only complaining because I'm cold and bored and got about five minutes sleep this week. So to make this worth your time here's a joke...

How do you make a bear cross?
Nail two together.

A few random thoughts….

Had a job interview yesterday that seemed to go all right. Was a little disturbed that one of the individuals felt the need to wear one of those WWJD things around her neck in order to keep from losing her glasses. I felt saying like that if I was in Jesus’ place, I would hire me on the spot along with a nice fat-ass raise! Managed to keep that thought to myself though. Still, I don’t understand those types of people who feel the need to profess their faith/belief in the workplace. It makes me uncomfortable. Moving on…

Just another tale that makes me gawk in amazement about the wisdom and innocence of my 8 year old daughter. One day she might realize what a constant source of inspiration she provides. Case in point…

Being an admitted news junkie, I followed with great interest the events surrounding the tragic deaths of Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota and other members of his entourage. I think the Democrats were smart in dragging out Walter Mondale in order to replace him on the ballot and I think the implications of this Senate race reach far beyond the borders of Minnesota.

Being a very left of center Democrat, I watched assorted clips of the “memorial service” held in his honor and in all fairness, I think the Republicans have a valid point. What was supposed to be a somber memorial turned into a pep rally. I don’t think it was intentional, I think people got caught up in the spirit of the moment and events, as they often do, just cascaded.

Anyway, I watched as Mondale accepted the nomination and listened to his speech in which he vowed to carry on Mr. Wellstone’s work. The news then flipped over to his opponent who closed his remarks with the following statement, delivered with much gusto and passion.

”The Future is Now!

My daughter glanced up at me and had this to offer.

Her: “He’s wrong Daddy.”

Me: “What do you mean honey?”

Her: “He should learn his tenses.”

Me: “I don’t know what you mean…”

Her: "Well, the future isn’t now, the future means that something’s gonna happen later. Now is now…"

It got me to thinking. Maybe our society’s need for the quick fix or the rush to judgment has gotten us where we are today. We don’t consider the future for what it is, we want the future and we want it now. Yes, we can shape the future but I don’t really think we consider the consequences of our actions. Decisions made in haste are rarely good ones. Impulsive acts, whether they are good or bad, seem to inspire more impulsive acts of the same nature. I wish there were more of the good type…

PS. At times like these, I wish my eight year old could vote.

Thus endeth my day…

Reading the newspaper makes me feel sick. I don’t know why I bought one…

I stay away from “The News” as much as possible, I make sure to be on 102fm (Radio Tel Aviv) every hour on the hour (When the radio is on anyways) since they don’t have hourly news updates unlike…. Everyone else.

I don’t buy newspapers normally, if I find myself in a waiting room or such, I’ll read the want ads or the real estate section, or maybe the world travel stuff.

I have a TV that isn’t hooked up to an antenna… last time I watched TV at home, it was the Simpsons,… INTERUPTED by a news flash about a terrorist bombing, so I watch that a bit when it is INTERUPTED by news of a DIFFERENT bombing.

That was just too much… no more antenna. Now my 29” Pilot TV is used for DVD/VHS and DiVX only. (Maybe I will finally buy that PlayStation)

So, I wake up this morning (A Friday mind you) I usually don’t work on Friday and today was no exception only my work mate did have to work (Since I did the last emergency thingie on Friday… wait nobody cares… As I was saying…) I woke up this morning (Around noon) and my friend Nir calls me, he wants to go to Ramle (Well he called me the previous night telling me he’d call)

Ramle : Ramle is one of the oldest cities in Israel, it’s a mixed city meaning Arabs and Jews live together (This is probably due to the fact that most of the Ramlite Arabs are Christians and not Muslim) Ramle Is also packed with Ethiopian, Indian and all sorts of Asian and African heritage Jews.

So we walk around the Ramle market, Nir remembering about his childhood days with his grandfather in Ramle and such. I tasted mid-eastern some sweets and we go to buy a Tunisian Sandwich. The Fricassee place was closed so we went to the main street looking for food, nothing looked good so we decided to head for “Halil

Halil had the same feeling it always does, cool but no air conditioning, not empty but not packed, waiters walking back and forth with Sheshlek or Kebab sometimes with Coffee and Baklava. We decided to take out food outside, ordered a pita with meat each and headed out for Nir’s car to eat.

Skip skip skip.

I’m home, bored, tired, nothing to do… LIGHTBULB IDEA EUREKA

I go to the corner kiosk (“Grass”) and get myself a Bounty and weekend edition of Maariv (Israel’s second biggest paper)

Déjà vu.

Reading the newspaper makes me feel sick. I don’t know why I bought one.

I love Fridays, especially because I only have one class in the morning (Calculus). This allows me to sleep in the rest of the day, or in today's case, catch up on Survivor, capture some MiniDV tape from last night's Halloween festivities, and make my first daylog entry. The 5th Manhunt activity is tonight, with rules variations that should make it quite interesting.

Also of note is that after several weeks of softlink surfing and link trading, cormorant is my latest E2 convert. I wonder if I have enough points for my toaster oven...

When I got to work this morning, the building security guard was ecstatic. “Look!” he said, waving a DVD case at me. “CVS has the Spider-man DVD for $14.99!”

I was impressed, especially considering that the list price for the DVD was $25.99. At lunchtime I hit three CVS stores trying to find the movie -- it was sold out in two of them. When I finally found it, I felt victorious. Everyone else in the store was buying it, and there were only a handful of copies left. I was fortunate to be getting such a great deal, or so I thought.

When I got back to work, I opened up the shrinkwrapping to see if there was a booklet or anything inside. No sooner had I pulled the plastic off then I noticed why the DVD was just $14.99. I suddenly felt very sick.

You see, I bought the “Full Screen Special Edition” by mistake. This is the cropped edition, where about 1/3 of the image is removed so that the film fits a regular television set. As a cinephile, there’s one thing I can’t abide -- and that’s a full screen edition. During the VHS era I would spend extra money just to get the widescreen edition of a film. Not only was I disappointed, but I felt robbed. Full screen editions are so rare with DVD’s, you rarely see them -- only the most popular films, the biggest blockbusters, have them. It hadn’t even occurred to me to check.

To even call it a “Special Edition” seems oxymornic. What’s special about altering the way a movie looks, even a big budget hit like Spider-man? Sure all the extras are there, but the film looks terrible.

I guess what this boils down to is a warning -- if you’re planning on buying the Spider-man DVD, make sure you get the right version of the film. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

Now, I have to wait until someone at half.com buys my copy of the film before I go out and buy the widescreen edition (for probably double what CVS was charging for the full screen version). There’s no sense in buying it twice. Pantaliamon would kill me.

I'm feeling incredibly stupid now ...

Busy is a constant state for me. I work full-time, do some small development on the side, and am a volunteer firefighter. I have been a firefighter for just over six years now, and have loved every second. Along the way I have seen my share of fires, accidents, deaths, saves, and everything along the way. I have been to many trainings, even having the opportunity to go to the National Fire Academy in Maryland. And while I have gotten to see a lot, there was no way to prepare for what happened yesterday.

At around 7:10 am, a northbound propane truck carrying just over 2,500 gallons of propane crossed the median and hit a pickup truck head-on, losing its front axle on impact. It then proceeded half-on and half-off skidding down the expressway for 35 feet, losing its rear axle, before falling 25 feet nose first, flipping over, and catching fire.

The first crew, Engine 13, heard the accident from their station. They were only two blocks away and immediately responded. Upon arrival they could not see the vehicle on the expressway, but knew they did have a propane truck overturned, heavy damage, and on fire.

It took a coordinated effort of easily over 40 firefighters before the scene was finally stabilized. We were not able to remove the driver of the propane truck until 6:30 pm, and were not able to clear the scene until 11:30 pm. Both the driver of the propane truck (who probably had a heart attack and died before crossing the median) and the driver of the pickup truck were killed.


Normally for us, that's the end of the story. We go out, do the best we can, save who we can, and follow up sometimes if someone made it to the hospital. We don't even think about the circumstances around the call, simply because we can't. Becoming emotionally involved in the patients can prevent you from doing your job. But this morning, reading about the incident in the newspaper and looking for pictures of my crew, I found a part of the story that I didn't know, and that made me appreciate it that much more.


Lisa Cook decided that morning to take a few extra moments to kiss her husband. After all, it had been 20 years that day since their first date, and she was so grateful to have him. She then got in her car as she normally did, and hopped on the Veteran's Expressway to head to work.

To her, it was a normal ride into work. I will now quote the St. Petersburg Times who puts it so much better than I:

"About 7:30 a.m., she was southbound on the Veterans Expressway, driving about 60 mph behind a Ford pickup. Suddenly, she saw debris and a truck axle rolling toward her."

"A propane gas tanker had veered out of the northbound lanes, crossed the grass median and slammed into the pickup in front of Lisa Cook. Then, in a scene that seemed to belong in a Hollywood action movie and not in everyday life, the body of the propane tanker ripped away from its axles, hurtled over the expressway wall and plunged onto an entry ramp at Ehrlich Road."

Those few moments, that one kiss to celebrate something so dear, saved a life that routine and schedule may have taken away. The thought of only being seconds behind tragedy, witnessing it before your very eyes made me stop this morning and really appreciate the day.


Sources:

  • St. Petersburg Times Tampa Bay Section
  • Me being there

Four men got in a discussion. Each one said:
"Who knows how
To have the Void for his head
To have Life as his backbone
And Death for his tail?
He shall be my friend!"
At this they all looked at one another
Saw they agreed,
Burst out laughing
And became friends.

-- From The Way of Chuang Tzu

The Thursday night D&D game was short, and ended at around 10. This time around, Halloween somehow snuck up on us all -- though we had the party last Saturday, the actual day crept up quietly, without fanfare or plans. And yet the feeling was there, the everpresent, vague expectation that comes before a pop culture holiday, the desire to seize it, to feel it, to somehow make it meaningful.

We came to the game in costume, just because. Her Sinister Majesty the DM wore an elegant red and black dress, and a velvet demonic mask - of the masquerade ball type. I pulled on my furry pants, satyr horns, a ren-faire vest, and felt great.

The game ended, a low-key chapter in our hunt for the Unicorn (and that's a story for another day). It was time to go, to catch up on sleep before work tomorrow. And yet... Halloween, it was almost over. Slipping. You could see it in everyone's eyes. K., who was wearing a pretty, comfortable autumnal dress with a belt buckle shaped like a crescent, who happens to be the sanest Taurus girl we've ever met, and who is also a newborn and fledgeling (yet very intelligent and sincere) witch, brought it up first. Yet what could we do? We know enough to be dangerous, to know what we want or what we're missing, but not necessarily what to do about it. The usual Halloween answers - parties, Trick-or-treating - did not apply at this moment. And while the Wiccans (hopefully) have some satisfying Samhain rituals, none of us knew of any off the top of our heads.

Of course, if we had even a couple hours to prepare, we could've had a chat with Uncle Google, and, being creative and knowing enough of what matters, we could've thrown something together. So that's what we decided - we'd do something cool and meaningful tomorrow, or Saturday, when we have time to prepare, arbitrary dates on the calendar aside. But it wasn't enough - you could still feel it in the room. Halloween was ending.

What broke the impasse is not important. We grabbed some candles, and soon had a circle of flame going, and a circle of hands around that. J., with ghoul makeup on, who is not a witch in any sense of the word, but is instead on his very own kind of White (in the Iron John sense) path, also joined in.

Rituals, like good dreams, are hard to describe, and in any event what matters is their effect and not the details. We chanted, and felt our voices vibrate and harmonize in the firelit room. We took turns speaking, grateful for a new year and for the presence of friends, expressing our hopes for the coming winter. We basked in each other's presence. And then we broke the circle, and banished with laughter (which, in case you're wondering, is very easy to summon up, since every ritual, no matter how grave, has an element of the ridiculous).

The night ended. I took the DM by the hand and we went home. Although they're no substitute for structured rituals, spontaneous ones really do work with the right mix of people, and this one drew us together. I'm glad we did it.

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