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Well, I finally started getting around to taking some more silly computer certifications. Word is at the college that I'll be teaching the Windows 2000 track next semester, and I was told to begin assembling the certification for it.

On Friday I ran through the Windows 2000 Pro exam, pulled a 1000 on it. Since I've been teaching some of it during lab sessions, it was relatively easy. Picked up a couple of Troytech cram books, there were 13 verbatim questions on the test. If you're gonna get certified, I suggest you at least peruse them.

Got word that my Network+ certification results will not be out until January '02, which puts a kink in my test fee reimbursement schedule. I suggest you avoid taking any CompTIA beta exams, even if they're cheaper. Getting an immediate feedback (You Passed/You Failed) is worth the extra money.

Had a long talk with my oldest daughter about smooching boys and hiding things from me. Yup, the thing all Dads dread most - his little girl has gone boy-crazy. Pray for me, I'll need the strength.

My teacher was gone today in physics class. After getting the assignment, a few people started to work on it. I did a few problems, but soon was ingrossed in a conversation going on behind me. I knew everyone that was talking and easily joined in.

Andrew had just said 'hell' for some reason and had apolgized to Beth for swearing. Beth is very religious. They got to talking about Hell is a place, which isn't a bad thing to say in that sense of the word. Quickly, though the conversation turned to religion. Andrew has told me before he is an atheist but following some teachings of Buddhism and Zen. Before moving here, he had attended a Catholic school. He wasn't showing off by not believing in God, but only mentioned it when deemed appropiate. Beth on the other hand is a very religious Christian.

Andrew talked some about Zen, which Beth saw no point in knowing. She told Andrew her views about God. Both of them were pretty mature about the whole thing, and didn't resort to name calling, etc. Beth told him that she would pray for his salvation, and that he may find God and Jesus Christ.

I'm sure you can imagine how the conversation went. Beth was quite ardent in letting Andrew know that she saw no point in learning about other religions. By this point Colleen, a friend of mine, and myself had joined the conversation. I argued that just knowing about a religion, didn't mean you had to subscribe to its beliefs. Andrew tryed again and again to get her to consent to taking a world religion class at some point in her life. She refused.

Colleen backed Beth up. Both believe that if you don't believe in God and that the Lord is Jesus Christ, you are going to Hell. Plain and simple. Poor Andrew, he didn't stand much of a chance. We did manage to change the subject, though to no better topic.

We began discussing war and violence. I hadn't said much during the religion debate. I go to school prayer every Tuesday morning, but thats about as far as my religion goes. I believe in God, and thats about it. But I totally agree that everyone should believe in whatever they want. I had to speak up on the violence and war, though. Andrew and I both agreed that violence and war is not necessary. Beth asked what about the United States' independence from Great Britian in the Civil War. I gave her a strange look and explain to her that she meant the Revolutionary War. She had just made an honest mistake and did know the difference. Andrew and I argued that the Civil War would not have needed to take place if violence hadn't been around a far stretch, yes, but extremes often help to prove a point). Slavery only was successful because of the violence used to insure their work. We talked a little about Afghanistan and what a draft and would mean. No one made any great arguments. I doubt anyone believed my declaration that I would rather go to jail than fight in a war.

We went back to religion and Andrew brought up a book about Zen. He asked if I had read it, The Eye Never Sleeps. I said no, and so did Beth. He said that he would let Beth read it, he thought she would learn a lot of interesting things from it. But he, half serious and half joking, mused if she might burn it. He said I should read it and would enjoy it. We had discussed books before and I trusted his taste in books. He told me it was in his locker and I could get it after class if I wanted to. I agreed. I'm still not sure why it was in his locker.

The book is quite good so far. I mentioned this to him at the end of the day and he promised me it was good, wiht 'swearing and stuff'. I laughed and went home.


I wonder if they give remedial lessons in socialization. I definitely missed out on some kind of education as a child, based on some of the ways that I just don't know how to behave with people.

Case in point: Edward. He's still striking me as a very nice person, and I'm hoping we develop a good friendship. Last Thursday, the first day I was back after the New Orleans gathering, I sent him an email asking how a programming project had gone that we had talked about during lunch on the day I left. He responded, saying he was just in the process of emailing me about it, told me it went fine, then invited me to join him and some of his friends for a game of volleyball on Sunday. I was quite happy to accept, and had fun playing, even in the slight rain. But then, Wednesday and Thursday of this week, I was once again trying to find the nerve to ask him to join me for lunch, and was twice unable to do so. But on Wednesday, after an incredibly foggy Tuesday night when I was unsuccessfully trying to divine the purpose of fog lamps on my car, and having checked that he has them on his car, I used that as an excuse to visit him at his desk in order to ask him if he knew what they were for, or if his do any good. He said his were useless also, and we joked about that for a while, then he invited me to play volleyball again this Sunday.

It seems clear that even the hypothetical Man from Arcturus would see that he likes me, at least so far. Why then do I quake in my boots when I want to suggest things to him?

This afternoon, I asked him about a problem I was having with CVS. Then, as I was leaving work in the evening, he asked me if I had gotten the problem fixed. We talked about that for awhile, then continued on to other discussions. Even while I was enjoying that, I was wondering if I was keeping him from leaving or something, though there was no indication of that. After fifteen minutes of talking about this and that, he asked me what my plans were for the evening. It seemed like he might really have been saying "I have no plans, you wanna do something?", yet I was afraid to take it that way, and made a non-committal remark. I felt so stupid. Then a co-worker needed some help, and while I was taking care of that, Edward went home for the weekend. He may have been handing me the very opening[1] I've been praying for, and I was afraid to take it; I think out of a fear of committing a faux pas by misinterpreting his action.

Contrast that with my action Saturday when a complete stranger appeared at my door, hawking homemade tamales. With nothing particularly at stake, I had no problem conversing with him – even in Spanish after correcting his assumption that I don't speak it – consummating a purchase, and even giving him my spare oven mitt so he wouldn't have to continue digging around in his bags of very hot tamales.

Even while I recognize that the romantic fantasies I've been having wrt Edward are not helpful to the first, real goal of friendship, I don't want to screw up what looks like it might be a good thing; and though nothing I've done has been harmful, it may be that the things I'm not doing are certainly not helping. Why can I deal with the meaningless, yet be totally unable to handle a very significant good thing that's come my way, which ninth-graders handle every day without even thinking about it?

I didn't think so at the time, but clearly my mom knew the score when, around seventh grade, my school suggested to my parents that I skip a grade; they vetoed that idea because, despite its appropriateness on the basis of my intellect, they knew that it would not help me socially. In fact, my mom would have liked me to go back a grade (except for the stigma that that would have brought me), or take a year off school (doing what I'm not sure; and there are the arguments that anti-home-schoolers make about a lack of socialization under that scheme) and then resume, but that never happened either.

[1] I don't mean to sound greedy -- the volleyball invitation was already a wonderful start.

Want to conserve your Chi? Get Poison Oak on Your Penis (or other applicable areas)

ok, now you all know way too much about me

Sad but true. Since I've been living in FL the past two
and a half years, I suppose the immunity to the northern
strains of poison plants has dissolved. With my new job
of being a crew chief again (I work in the wonderful
and exciting world of land surveying, with the bonus of
being in a supervisorary position), I'm back out "in
the field".
Or in other words, in the woods and in peoples yards.
Regardless, since poison oak spreads via oils, and
also since the little man needs aiming, you can guess
how it got there. Not fun. But it does have great side
effects. For one, there is this wonderful sense of
clarity in my life now. Since the sexual urges have
gone into remission, I have all kinds of extra mental
time to devote to other endeavours. Like bonsai.
Cleaning the shower, over and over again. Alphabetizing
grocery coupons. Using grocery coupons. Demagnetizing
my tape deck. Actually listening to tapes again.

damn. Can't wait till this stuff clears up. This is..
Save me!

I say that the some of the best days in life are right after a grueling week of midterms or any other forms of examinations. I just finished the second of two midterms for my psychology class yesterday, and I believed that I did quite well, considering the amount of class time I actually spent there. Now, I found myself sleeping almost 12 hours to recover from the all-nighter that I pulled the last two nights. Nothing like sleep deprivation to rejuvinate the body with the most sound sleep possible.

I dreamt weird things last night and I found myself wondering about my state of mind. Thanks to college, if found myself whether my dreams were simply a form of Freud's Wish Fulfillment theory or simply as a form or problem solving. I refuse to believe that my dreams are simply due to my forebrain trying to make sense of random neural information that comes from the other parts. I even astound myself, remembering the information. I'm pondering whether this is what I'm good at or what I like. What an interesting predicament, trying to separate efficiency vs wants. But nonetheless, the last two days have been interesting due to the lack of extreme thinking.

Now that I've gone back to my regular schedule of tiring my body out with exercise, work and sleep deprivation, I highly suspect my overanalytical brain to be burning the midnight oil. I have had some ideas in my head, but not ones I can act on. But for now, I'll leave it at that. Maybe I finish up more of those origami stars. They always do make nice gifts, time consuming as they may be.

My obsession with Kim Ji Hye is starting to disturb me. I find myself just surfing the web for her pictures and almost gitty when I find another new picture. She's just so unbelievably beautiful that I cannot find words to describe it. My friends don't agree but I don't particularly like all the ladies that they find appealing as well. That's okay. In its own little way, the less of everyone that this infatuation involves makes it feel like its all mine. Individualism is important to me, and knowing that I am myself and no one else somehow gives me comfort.

My korean pronounciation is getting better as I listen to more music. I don't understand a word but I mention some sentences to a co-worker who's taking korean classes and she actually understands, even though most of the time they're incomplete sentences. Proud of myself, I'm finding myself here listening to more BoA, S.E.S and Toya. Lame but funny.

MrFurious and all them other dudes have recently been bugging me about having a secret girlfriend. Intriguing, and definitely flattering. I respond negatively but after a while, like anything else repetitive, I won't really give a crap. But I find it disturbing that my mom thinks that I really do have one due to the amount of cell phone time that I use. I'm finding myself hard pressed to explain but my mom is always sweet. What can I say? Mama's Boy should be tattooed all over me.

I was thinking of taking Jiu Jit Su lessons but when I realized that they were about 100 bucks a month, I simply couldn't afford it. The self delusional idea that I can beat on someone would be great but I wouldn't be able to afford it. I guess the only way to relieve the physical pressure would be to go to the gym. *Blink*. My eyes hurt. Its time to go...

You can ring my bell....Ring my bell.....*Ding Dong*.....*Blink*.....

I just saw edibleplastic in the street, which was nice. Always good to meet fellow noders. I was on a supply run for working food - Kettle Chips, Irn-Bru, Red Kola and chicken pakoras. Yum. Anyway, to come to the point, An Edinburgh E2 gathering seems increasingly likely. nine9, edibleplastic /me and a good few others live here, and there are bound to be some who are close enough to travel. As a provisional date, how does Saturday the 24th of November sound for those of you who may be interested? (that's in two weeks time). I was thinking we could go for coffee, watch a film in a nice pub I know - it's a really good place to watch a movie, much better than a cinema - and possibly go to a gallery or do something similarly cultural during the day. Anyway, all interested parties should /msg me, or e-mail me at 9902253@sms.ed.ac.uk

I'll write a proper node with a plan of action at some point in the near future.

Now, back to that damn Cognitive Science assignment.

I've been seriously considering taking the next semester off. I'm burned out. Pure and simple. A husk. Ashes to ashes.

The whole 9/11 think fucked me hard, my grandmother died and school is just seeming more and more meaningless. I know (?) it's not... It just seems that way.

I'm spinning my wheels right now. I need to be doing something, not worrying constantly about classes that don't interest me.

I'd spend the semester working (I am having financial problems, so that plays a role) and getting some films made. That's the thing. I'm studying film but I'm not getting to do anything really. I need something under my belt if I intend to go to grad school. Or fuck grad school. I want to make movies. I'm not doing that. That pisses me off.

To tell the truth, once I started to consider this idea, I felt like a burden had been lifted. Felt even better when I talked it over with my father. He was all for it, and reminded me that he had advocated about a year ago the idea of some friends and I taking a semester off, and using our tuition money to make a film. My dad's cool like that.

My stress level has gone down a great deal.

I don't often daylog, but sometimes I just want to record the events that I drift through.

So, I got up in time to see the film, which was showing at 11am. Don't quite know how after the previous night's revelling. Eoin gave me a lift down with his girlfriend Olivia and we met this lass Jamie outside. I think Jamie's really pretty, fun and interesting, so this was a bonus. Watched the film and quite enjoyed it.

Came out the cinema and went to the pub at about 2pm. Only had one in there and was going to stay all day and drink with the lads, but felt a bit tired, so when Eoin and Olivia offered me a lift home I went with them. Jamie came along as well and going home turned into going to the pub for lunch and to watch the England game. We sat in the pub drinking and chatting until about 7:30pm and then they went home, so I went home too.

Had a quick beer with Ross and Drew and then Jason turned up and said he was going to a party in a bar down Kings Cross, so I tagged along with him. We got there and it was awful. Completely full of toffs and ages to wait at the bar, so we left.

Went to the pub nearby instead and Jason phoned his mates to let them know where we were. We thought about going home after a drink or two because we were both a bit tired and it looked like it might not be too much fun. Then about eight of his mates turned up and they all turned out to be really nice and chatty and we ended up staying in there until 2am.

We came outside and they all said they were going home, but as we were saying our goodbyes another group turned up, one of whom happened to know Jason. I got introduced to them and Jason and his mates went home. So there I was going clubbing with a bunch of complete strangers. We went to The Cross where Fatboy Slim was playing, but after ten minutes in the queue we hadn't moved. This girl said she knew where there was a house party down in south London, so we all decided to go there.

We all walked back to the car, which turned out to be one of those people carriers and was driven by a guy called Rocket. I loved all this... a guy called Rocket and the girl turned out to be called Dallas. Lol. So half of the group decided to give in at this point, but four of us, me, Rocket, Dallas and Jason's mate Ubu. I can't remember his real name, but I kept saying, "Sit, Ubu. Sit. Good dog."

We stopped off at a dodgy little supermarket and bought beers and a bottle of vodka at about 3am and found the party by about 4am. Most people there were quite stoned, drunk or sleeping, so it wasn't that noisey, but we tried to liven things up a bit and for a while it worked. Then Ubu and Rocket went home and my final link to real life was severed. I was sitting there wearing a cowboy hat at about 5am. I didn't know where I was or any of the people I was with, but I was having a great time.

I went the distance and left with Dallas at maybe 9am. She showed me where to get a bus that would take me to Waterloo and the tube and then I was alone. Drunk, stoned and wearing a cowboy hat and trying to function in normal society. I kept smirking. Anyway, I got home about 10:30am and decided it was bedtime. I guess now it had become Sunday.

I sat down with my legs bent, knees up, with my hands resting between. I then attempted meditation.
I failed quite miserably considering most other times. I couldn't seem to avoid distraction.
I looked at my watch. It had been about a minute since I closed my eyes. I started thinking about some comments my friends made before my HSC physics test the day before.
It was about Teagan. Daniel had asked me if I had asked her out. I said yeah; I'd asked her out about a month ago. He said "You do realise she's got a boyfriend...?"
"Yeah, now she does."
Chris commented that he had talked to her at work, and asked her if there was anything going on between me and her. She had said no.
I thought, well, the time before last we spoke, I was asking her out on the phone. She said she had too much study and work to do. I said "I might call you after the exams then." The last time I spoke to her, she came up to me, with a smile, saying she'd finished her exams...
Further, I thought, Teagan is a colossal flirt, and whatever was going on between me and her was hardly enough to mention to Chris, considering she probably had the same sort of thing going with most guys she'd ever talked to. Then, must be considered, the possibility that at that time she was also trying to tune Chris.
Then I thought, of course, these reasons aren't real, they're just excuses for my ego. I couldn't accept this thought as truth, but it allowed for the possibility that Teagan was never attracted to me in the first place.
I started to roll a cigarette, with Venti, Ranch filters and Drum.
A car pulled up about two metres in front of me. A voice said "What are you doing?" I said "I'm rolling a cigarette." It was an acquaintance of mine, Veronica. Apparently she's somewhat interested in my friend Will, but he has failed to call her for some inexplicable reason.
She said she was going to Newcastle, and she'd better leave because she was parked in a no-standing zone. She drove off.
I migrated to the other side of the road, and began to meditate.
This time I had more success. I retreated fully inside myself. I forgot to think.
When I opened my eyes, about twenty minutes had passed.
Aleister Crowley says that when one achieves a state where one retreats so far inside that one is no longer conscious of self, one becomes invisible.
I, however, regained my self-consciousness after my meditation, but when I reached the Lorn benches, although my friends and acquaintances were all around, it took a while for anyone to notice my presence. I think I even spoke before they noticed me.
"Holy shit! Where did you spring from? Did you just pop up out from the dirt or something?"
"Gee... I've been sitting here for about five minutes man."
My theory on this phenomenon is that when one is fully introspective, the consciousness, the aura, and probably physical manifestations of such things (pheromones and other smells) will be retained, making the body less noticable.
Later that night, my good friend Clemo and his girlfriend Jo were having a fight.
"Call me a drug-addict will she - I've had two bong free days in the last week!"
I wish he could hear himself say that.

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