Getting a call at 5am can be very frightening.

Anna's mobile rang this morning, waking us up an hour and a half before the alarm was supposed to go off.

'Who the hell could that be?'

Anna diverted it to her message service, and, when a message notification arrived, listened to it. She tells me she heard her mum talking to somebody,

'Well, where does her boyfriend live?'

(Oh my god somebody's after me - wait, don't be an idiot who'd be after you?)

She tries to call her house, and as she does, my mobile rings. Private number. I reject the call, so that Anna can try to get through. Heart is beating like crazy.

(What the hell could be wrong, did somebody die?)

Anna finally gets through to her mother. I listen to her side of the conversation, waiting to here what's happened.

'Yeh, I'm at Ben's. Out the front. Buckmaster Drive. OK, I'll check.'

She hangs up.

'The police are at my house, they've apparently found my car in the middle of an intersection. I'm going up the front to see if the car is there.'

Oh, fuck. We don't need this. Kind of relieved though, that it wasn't something worse. We walk up the front, sure enough, the car isn't there. We go back inside, Anna calls the Mooroolbark police, who apparently found the car. They don't know much (in fact, less than nothing, they told us it had been in an accident, which it hadn't). Call the Doncaster police, they don't know much. Wait for them to call back.

We're not going to get any more sleep, are we. *yawn*

Finally get onto somebody at the police station.

'Shit, we have to move it out of the intersection before they send somebody to tow it.'

I wake up Dad, and he drives us down there, so we can push it off the road. Luckily it's a small, and subsequently light car. Open the bonnet, seems they've connected jumper cables from the battery to the coil. (Whatever that is, I don't know cars. Is that how you jump start the thing?)

We lock the car. Figured it would be a good idea.

Finally, get dropped off at the station. Her parents are going to deal with it from here.

So, there we go. Fun morning. I really need sleep.

Funnily enough, while Anna was at the car with her dad, somebody who lives down the street stopped and told them his car had also been stolen last night, and had been wrapped around a pole. I imagine Anna's car conked out on whoever stole it, either because the coil died (she found out that's why it wouldn't start), or they ran out of petrol (the gauge doesn't work), and they proceeded to steal this guy's car. Assholes.

Anyway, other than that excitement, I had a good weekend. Didn't have band practise on Saturday, it wasn't organised properly, so Jay and I went to see 'Rock Star'. Didn't suck. We had a barbeque at our house that night, to celebrate my sister finishing her VCE, which was cool. Anna couldn't come, unfortunately, because she was working.

Anna came over yesterday, however, with a stack of videos, so we got to sit around in my room all afternoon, watching Lethal Weapon movies. Which is exactly how I like to spend my Sundays.

We had a good talk last night, too, about various subjects... mostly the fears we have about our relationship, and how paranoid we can both be... also some great reminiscing of when we were in our 'flirting' stage, at the end of last year. I'm so in love.

And now, a couple of hours left of work, and I get to see her again, to watch Boston Public at her place, and sleep on the floor of her computer room. (Her parents won't let us share a bed, heh)

Bah, Boston Public wasn't on, some Michael Jackson concert was. We watched Lethal Weapon 3. Not that you're interested.

back to November 15, 2001 | on to ???

I'm in love with this girl I went to high school with. Have been for a long time. I'm incredibly picky about women and I always thought she had everything I was looking for.

I made the mistake of telling her that about a year ago. Since then, she endlessly tells me about her latest boyfriend, how great he is in bed, and how much I need to get over her.

Right now, she's asking me to help her decide on the latest candidate for emotional attachment. When I ask for a list of pros and cons, the only pro is that she can sleep with him when she goes back to her hometown from college, and the con is that it's 200 miles from point A to point B.

Suddenly, I'm not so in love.

I found love again

...but I don't know her name, and her face is a bit vague to me as well. Of course, with the luck I've been having, it isn't even real, or at least not in this dimension of reality. It was in my dream. But it was something I haven't felt for a very long time. It was new to me again. I had thought that I felt everything before. Now I realize that I haven't.

In contrast, yesterday was a very irritating time for me. It was no wonder - since it was one month to the day that she left me. I try not to talk about it, so instead I feel bad about it. Mostly, I was angry. The good thing was, I was still reserved and quiet about it, but only a little creepy. Every little thing got to me to exasperate my existence. Pacifists would have been more tolerant than I.

Waking up this morning was the best thing that could happen to me. The dream gave me hope to live another day, to look forward to meeting people and perhaps fall in love when that time finally comes.

I suppose a lot of the effects came from the movie last night. Meet Joe Black was on last night. I had seen the movie once before on rental. She and I had watched it. She felt it was belabouring and boring. I found the movie to be quite imaginative in regards to the storyline and with a good script. Claire Forlani, with her daunting eyes and radiance, overwhelmed my senses. I felt a potential for love for someone who is so far away, in another world from me.

My heart is now longing for this feeling to be permanent. I can hear in my head coax myself into keeping this specific feeling so that each and every minute of my being can be a litle more bearable. Love and optimism are one and the same. That is what I am aiming for.

Amazingly, the image of this girl I do not know, resembled one of the women I smiled at in the personals website. But she is all the way in California. Am I chasing a dream that does not exist?

No. It cannot be. It spoke volumes to me when I felt the way I did. The girl wasn't an ordinary person. She did something for my soul. All I need to do is seek her out.

This has happened to me before. The other time, it was just warm, soft lips touching mine. That dream left me feeling ecstatic and curious. And then she came along and realized it for me. That was five years ago.

It's starting to happen again.

I don't snore, I swear. My father claims the same thing, even though he used to go off like a chainsaw in the evenings while my mother and I listened (while trying to watch TV). Guess the denial is something I've gotten from him.

This didn't hold up when I got beaten to a bloody pulp by my SO at 5am. But I wasn't snoring I swear!

5:30am and the kitten decided that it was time to practice her cat kung styles on me. The two that I noticed through the haze of sleep were the Ten Claws of Death in your Butt and the Rotating Ball of Pain Under The Covers Technique. Happily Sandpaper Tongue on the Nose was absent from this (early) morning exercise routine.

BTW, anyone got any good kitten names?

The gym this monday morning was painful as well, especially after I foolishly said "yes, I'll help your parents work on the barn" yesturday. In truth I should have answered "No, I want to do nothing more than sit on my ass all day" when asked, but I had to be a "nice guy". So we spent a couple of hours stacking 2x12s and shoveling sand. I suppose in the end this will save me money as moving the SOs horses back to her parents house will mean I don't have to pay $700 a month board for them.

The entire duration of this forced labor I spent thinking to myself, "So this is what real people do." Hell, I spend my work and off work time sitting on my ass at a computer... it's amazing what people will do to make a living.

Sometimes I wish I was one of them...

A brief glimpse into the harsh reality of my existance...

I'm not really the most gracefull person. Not to say that I'm clumsy, but rather that I'm akward in the physical realm.

I was taking the wheelchair out of the back of the truck. A reasonably simple task...

  1. Grab control for the wheelchair lift
  2. Raise wheelchair just a little by pressing up button
  3. Swing wheelchair out
  4. Lower wheelchair to ground using down button
  5. Unhook wheelchair
  6. Swing lift arm back into truck

All in all, fairly simple. But, it really went something like this...

  1. Grab control for the wheelchair lift
  2. Raise wheelchair just a little by pressing up button
  3. Swing wheelchair out
  4. Place pinky between the boom arm and lift bar
  5. Press up button to lower wheelchair to ground
  6. Scream in pain when pinky is pinched
  7. Clench control in other hand, thus pressing the up button again
  8. Scream in pain when pinky is crushed
  9. Drop control from hand instead of clenching more
  10. Fumble around for control with pinky still pinched
  11. Grab control
  12. Concentrate and press the down button to lower wheelchair
  13. Unhook wheelchair
  14. Swing lift arm back into truck

Suprisingly enough, my pinky is still functional. A bit swollen, somewhat stiff, and oddly not bruised. It's not broken and only has two small cuts on it.

I really should let my wife handle these things...

So basically I'm scared out of my mind.
I have a check up this week.
I know they told me that I was ok for the most part but that's what they told me the first time I went to them...

Back in May my first appointment they told me that I was ok here have some medicine come see us in two months. Then in August they told me it got worse. They said here take some medicine and come back in two months.
Well its Novemeber, and if my body follows the former pattern of badness then it,whatever it is, will have gotten worse and I'll be so fucked.
Pardon my harsh language.
But I'll be fucked.
My mother helped me through the doctor's appointments in August and September but she is in Mexico now. I'm so happy that she finally got to move because she hated it in San Antonio, but I wish she could come back up to take me.
Being alone isn't very fun.

I hate people who say this, but I don't usually Daylog. Seriously, you can look if you want to.

However, today is my birthday and part of my annual commemoration is a tallying of the passage, an inventory, if you will, of my life and where it is going. I note, for instance, that I am of the age by which Alexander the Great had conquered his final country. I have no Bucephalus, no hordes of Greeks laying waste to the world at my bidding. That is the nature of the inventory. Here it goes.

I am fat. Not terribly so, just enough that it makes me think twice about climbing long flights of stairs, and precludes me wearing bike shorts. It is unhealthy, and I would very much like to change the way I am on that count. I'm not bad looking, but I could dress better. Part of that is related to the fat thing. The clothes reserved for fat people cause me to dress like a 40 year old. C'est la vie.

It's rather depressing that I'm not world famous yet. I am working very hard in my program, will soon move into dissertation region. I am feeling a general dysthymia about school at the moment, but I am told that is not unusual in the third year of a doctoral program.

I know what my research interests are, but am still left with my pathetic self-comparison to Caesar and Hannibal. Will my efforts make the world a better place? Will my passing have made a mark on this planet? I'm not sure at this point.

I need to write more, get my name out in the noosphere as the expert on self organizing websites and virtual community. This coming year I will try to publish at least 8 articles and speak at a minimum of 3 conferences.

I could be doing better. My wife and I are very loving towards each other, and we rarely argue about things, but we need to constantly renew our committment and the romance. The price of wedded bliss is eternal vigilance. I think in the past few months I've taken her for granted, and need to reverse that trend.

Over the next year I will try to do at least one unexpected thing per week. Try to compliment her every day and be less critical. After all, this total babe is sticking with a fat, hairy loser, so perhaps I could be more patient. On the plus side, I've been very good in dealing with her health problems, and supportive of her need to quit working. I think I have been very good in general about giving her support when needed.

Getting better. I am less self involved than in years past, and have been much better about keeping secrets. I look upon women with lust in my heart, but MB doesn't seem to mind. I have taken care of my family, and have been loyal to my friends.

I can do more for extended community. I used to volunteer much more than I do now. I could be a better citizen in some ways. It's time to expand my morality beyond my immediate social network and become a source of strength in a broader sense.

I watch too much television. I've done much better with exaggerating this year. I want to continue trying to work art into my life, and try and be more outgoing with people. It's not like their going to pinch my nipples. I want to give up soda and be more patient with my family. They can't help it that they are incredible idiots who are a drain on national resources.

This year I will do more "outreach", writing more letters and calling more friends. I have tended to let myself get busy and then ignore personal relationships. I need to develop some more interests, in the vocational and athletic arena. For instance, a winter sport like snowboarding will both help me to get in shape and help me survive the winter.

I'm in the dying gasps of my twenties. This year has seen quite a bit of growth. I feel more comfortable in my skin, and am less affected by self doubt than I have been at previous birthdays. I notice I speak out more when I need to, and am not afraid to brace strangers in public, as I would have been a couple of years ago.

I am intellectually exploding, though maybe not as much as last year. Law of diminishing returns and all that. I need to work exercise and outdoor activities into my life more, as that area has significantly dropped off.

Okay, that was a self-indulgent exercise. I firmly believe that we need to keep checking in with our course. Pick a star, and steer towards it. This little rant is my effort to keep the course. Every birthday, at least, I will check in to the global picture and ask who I am, who I want to be, and what the difference is.

I changed my homenode pic--yay! One where I don't look like such a dork! (Don't be fooled. I am a dork. I'm just covering it well in this picture.) ::grin::

Today my co-worker Steve and I had a short chat about people's attitudes. We received a nice note and a plate of cookies from a customer who felt badly for spilling coffee on some books last week. She said in her note that she planned to buy all her books at our bookstore to try to make up for what she did, and to reward us for our graciousness in the matter and our forgiveness. THIS is the kind of attitude I wish more people had (and not just for the free cookies). Most people are not like this woman. Most people just feel that they are allowed to be jerks because they are the customers.

Steve and I talked about it. He mentioned something that steamed him: A medical student studying in the café yesterday. Steve said that that kid was very lucky to have the chance to go to medical school, and will probably have a very successful life if he graduates, but this did not stop him from taking a medical dictionary that was for sale in our store and unwrapping it for his personal use, then just sticking it on the nearest shelf and leaving when he was done. Okay. Now, you're a medical student, and you're probably forking over a lot of money to go to medical school, but you can't be bothered to buy the dictionary. Okay, putting that aside. You can't be bothered to use the library's dictionaries; you feel you have to OPEN one of ours. And even putting THAT aside . . . you can't even put the damn thing back where you got it?

People have this attitude that they're owed something by everyone they meet. Steve described it well: Entitlement. They have an air of entitlement about them; they believe that everyone is there only to be of use to them. Yes, "they have people to clean it up," but that people is ME and my co-workers, and every time I frequent someone else's establishment, I realize that I am not talking about "workers," cogs in a machine, but PEOPLE at work, who will be annoyed if I don't have the decency to clean up after myself. Yet hundreds of people just believe they're entitled to make a mess in our store, every day, and think nothing of the fact that their laziness wastes my time. Yes, I'm being paid. But I could be paid to organize that section so you could find what you want easier, or to have two cashiers so you don't have to wait in a line of six people before you get to check out, or to take more time to assist you in choosing, or to put more books on the shelf for purchase. As it is, way too much of our time is spent cleaning up after people who very easily could have been considerate and put things back where they found them.

Yes, messes in retail stores are inevitable. But is it really necessary to take a huge stack of magazines, rudely read and enjoy them without paying for them, and on top of that leave them for someone else to clean up? Is it really too much to ask for people to have a little decency? I've never been a waitress, but when I slop ketchup on the table, I wipe it up with my napkin. I've never worked in a clothing store, but I don't let shirts stay on the floor if I'm the one who knocked them off the hanger. And I've never worked in a movie theater, but I actually obey the sign that asks me to "pitch in," despite the fact that my mom tells me "they have people to do that." (Incidentally, my mom thinks she SHOULD leave her trash there, because she's under the impression that it gives someone a job, and that she's really doing a good thing. Somehow I really don't think an USHER's job is to clean up after my mom's slobby ass, or that anyone will get fired if she doesn't litter.) I don't care if "there are people to do that." I'm of the opinion that people should start cleaning up after themselves once they're old enough to not have to be told to clean their rooms; i.e., ADULTS. It's surprising how many supposed grown-ups will leave a mess just because "the customer is always right" keeps retailers from playing the much-needed mommy.

And that's my "people are assholes" rant for today.

Today, I am still trying to recover from an exhausting weekend.

While laying out pages at work, I longed to return to my apartment, take a hot shower and curl up under blankets, surrounded by the noise of nothing. I had not been home in four days- Friday night Phil and I went to a party in Atlanta, and Saturday through Sunday we visited my grandmother in Columbus, Ga.

My grandfather died three months ago. Now both grandfathers are dead. He was an incredibly wonderful man, and my grandmother is having a tough time healing. She can't sleep at night. She wants me to visit as often as possible- if I were closer, I could do this more- but life tends to keep us all distanced both mentally and physically all too often.

When Phil and I rolled up into the driveway, I noticed my grandfather's car was no longer there, and the vision hit me hard. The tears in my eyes were sudden, and were the opposite of what I usually felt when arriving at their home all of my life. When she came to the door, I hugged my grandmother for a while and she cried, too. Then we all went out and ate fish, and she told us about how she went out for dinner several times a week and cried in the same places she and grandfather used to eat.

For much of that day and next, she told us everything that was going on, we helped her around the house, and she had me call several relatives who were all also going to die soon. Although this was rough for me, I know it was tremendously harsher on my grandmother, who was slowly but surely losing all of her friends as time wore on.

Golden years my ass.

She was so glad we were there, though. I longed to do more for her, but little can be done except offering your ear and your love in this situation. She and my grandfather had been together for 58 years, and had shared a wonderful life. Must console in that. I'll be sending her another card again soon.

I had been up at 5 a.m. on Sunday, and wanted to walk outside and watch the meteor shower, but I'd have to switch the burglar alarm off and that would mean waking my grandmother, which I refused to do. I strained to look out any window that might offer a view, but this did not work. I went back to bed, wondering if perhaps my grandfather could see the event.

The Dublin weekend served as a welcome respite for my gf and I to escape our worlds. We both collapsed into the other's arms. The hotel was situated in the hip Temple Bar area in easy reach of the myriad bars, restaurants and cafes.

We went to an Italien on the first night and enjoyed pizza and lasagne. We ambled along cobbled streets and past grandiose vestiges of the British Empire. Trinity College impressed and Grafton street delighted us. Brown Thomas oozed affluence. We sashayed into to a Furrier and stared aghast at mink coats worth thousands. We ambled past the markets of Moore street and supped stout in the aptly named Porterhouse. We ate tempura at Yamimori.

The hotel was adaquate but vastly overpriced. We indulged in the opium that is MTV, and in wine and chocolate. On Monday we parted feeling sated and exhausted.

I have to take the bus to school everyday, and it's really quite annoying. Usually I have to wait about 5-10 minutes at my stop before my bus comes.

There are some very weird things I've noticed at my bus stop:

Beside the bus stop is a very seedy appartment "building". (More of a place that happens to have some people living within). On the door some fairly uneducated person has written a letter about not slamming the door, and uses the words mean well instead of meanwhile and such. Really quite a hole. The people that come out of this place are poor, dirty and not all there. I always feel uncomfortable when they walk by.

On the garbage can beside the pole with the bus stop sign and a traffic light on it, someone placed a red sticker with white lettering reading "EATING ANIMALS", just below the door where you throw your trash in. I first noticed this about a week ago.

At night hookers use my stop to solict men. And they have solicited my boyfriend as he drives by, and even waved at him once while I was in the car! They are very low-rate hookers, and don't even dress up. An example of one outfit is pink high heels with overalls, hanging only on one shoulder, with a bra-top underneath. I assume they use the bus stop since people are expected to just be standing there... but the use it after the busses have stopped running.

This week another sticker has shown up. This time it's on the window of the used appliance store (also a hole) that the bus stop is directly in front of. This one is also red with white lettering and reads "FISHING". It is a bit harder to notice since it's above the Visa and Mastercard stickers for the store.

EATING ANIMALS and FISHING? I'm lost. I've seen the "carpe diem" stickers, and the "Jesus saves" flyers and they made some sense to me, although their placement always confuses me. These are just weird.
If you happen to know what this is all about I'd be interested in hearing.

God I wish I could drive and that it was cheaper than the bus. There are so many weirdos on public transportation. Sometimes I'm afraid that the people getting off at my stop are getting off to follow me. I never used to be... I guess I was a little careless with myself then. Yeesh.

EEK! Christmas is like a month away! And my birthday is like 2 weeks away. I'm going to be 20. No more blaming foolishness on being a teen. CRAP.

I first published this WU saying it was a freewriting exercise, but now I'm not so sure. I've been editing it & perhaps it isn't. Please, don't let these words stain your views of it too much as you read on.

Perhaps my assumptions about a fair world are incorrect. Perhaps my head is really fucked up and I don’t have a dammed clue about how the world really works. I wonder why I dwell on such ideas; other people seem to have such a clear view of how the world works. I justify my ambivalence by thinking to myself "Oh yeah, they’re wrong."

It’s an easy-cop-out kind of solution. I mean, I could just say anything to justify the way I do shit. It irritates me. I am also really really really terrified about the fact that the book report for the Environmental Issues class is due today and I really had no f***ing clue that it was. I am absolutely terrified about this fact. I actually have not done anything at all toward getting it done; I’ve barely read. I just let the low hum of depression sink in. Depression is wrong. Depression is wrong because this illness I have is wrong and depression is an embarrassing cause. This idea that it’s not depression is silly, almost, in my depressed moods. I often wonder if I’m just totally depressed and that’s it. It is almost easier to believe so, but that would be sliding into self-pity and self-pity is the enemy. I don’t know exactly why it is, but it is. A noder on Everything2 once said1 that self-pity is psychic B-O. I am afraid she might be right, but then instead of self-pitying I’m self-conscious. Oh, woe is me.

Wow, writing about this stuff is kind of fun, I didn’t realize writing could be fun. I always had negative associations around writing. Isn’t that silly? I think it is.

1: Click on the link up there (or this one) and scroll down to point number 12

Ugh, some more stuff I guess, but I really should be doing this other thing that draws me. OH well...bleah.
So I haven't really told mom and pop about my not doing so well in this class. Hell, I've outright lied. This is not new, but I still hold on to my self-ideal of me (& us) the overachiver(s) (if not the somewhat antisocial and/or boring overachiever). I like this image. Society says this image is good for people at least somewhat out of childhood.

Let's see here. I think I'll try out this day log thingie here. Ever heard of In Strict Confidence? Their song Industrial Love is playing...

Anyways, I still have those two editorials to write. One of them being on the security preparations at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. I'm trying desperately to avoid using any and all references to... that date. I try to avoid it for the same reasons I'm getting annoyed by the countless flag-waving bastards mucking about in this country. Reminds me of the "true patriotism vs. trendy patriotism" @Issue spread we did last issue. I thought it was a nice idea for about a month or so post facto, but now it's just agitating me that people are still being trendy little bitches.

I have yet to say something meaningful

The second one is my column. Haven't thought of a topic yet. I assume I'll be able to get an idea thanks to kuro5hin,, and (of course) E2. I also have to do my part for the 2-page feature spread on cliques. I have yet to begin research for my news story on the school board elections. High school newspapers are so fun...

Otherwise, what have I done today? Made sure I did nothing productive. Schoolwork just seems so... disgusting. Apparently I need to submit to the system in order to get into a good college, though. My mom enjoys spouting off statistics and rhetoric about how sLeesville is the best school in the state and about how the average GPA at UNC is 4.0. Not that I want to go there. She just relishes in reminding me that when I really get down to it, I am royally screwed.

Ms. German Exchange Student has apparently found a new 'house family'. Tried calling her today but she appeared to be preoccupied. The phone number includes the same three preceding digits as mine. Maybe she doesn't live out in Bumfuck Egypt anymore and somewhat closer to me...

Writing those articles sounds like a good idea. Apparently I should try this day log thing again when I actually have somethinging quasi-meaningful to ramble about.

It's the anniversary of the day I turned up in America. It's also the anniversary of the first two airplane flights of my life, not an experience I want to repeat in a hurry. I never expected to be here this long, but there it is.

Here's the story in brief: I'd met an American lass on the internet, in the Generation X Yahoo chatroom to be exact and on July 4th to be ironic. We got close very quickly and four months afterwards, to the very day, I met my "cyber" girlfriend at Gatwick Airport, London. We'd already decided that I was to return to America with her two weeks later, though in my insecurity I feared she'd hate the sight of me and leave on her own. Nope. Far from it in fact, we got on so well I proposed to her on her second day in the UK. She accepted without a thought and we than planned for me to stay for as long as I was able in the States and bring Jennifer back home with me for a wedding in picturesque rural England. How wrong did that plan go...

So come the 19th we prepared to fly out of England, to stay in America for the full 90 days my visa waiver card (I-94 I believe it's called) allowed me to. I hate flying by the way, I was scared of it before, but after that day I knew the full horror of jet powered flight. 9 hours, a mile up in the sky, trying to doze but having nightmares each time I dropped off, falling nightmares of me falling through the hull of the 'plane to meet the Atlantic below.

Finally we came to Atlanta International Airport where I was treated to a lovely welcome by the much maligned Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) who kept me hanging around for a nice long chatter about the length of time I intended to stay in the country. I was eventually stamped in but with the warning that, "If you stay here one minute longer than my stamp allows for, we know where you are and we WILL come and get you." (And a big happy finger to you, lady. Come get me; hehe, course, I have a Green Card now, so you'll be leaving empty handed).

I really never intended to stay though. But I digress.

The second flight took us from Atlanta to Oklahoma city, and this was a bit more fun for me; well, I'd not had a cigarette since Gatwick so it was about as good as can be expected. But I managed to force myself to look out of the window as the clouds cleared, and I proceeded to watch in awe as we passed over Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and finally Oklahoma. I'm glad I could do that, it's probably going to be one of the last things I remember as my mind crumbles in old age.

We landed in OKC, stood around waiting for our luggage and were met meanwhile by Jenn's Father in his enormous (by my European standards) Chevrolet truck, a self proclaimed hillbilly redneck (computer programmer) that I'd been terrified of meeting since I'd proposed to Jenn. (Hi, I'm the internet boyfriend, oh, FYI, me an' Jenn are getting married in England and staying there, hope you don't mind!) There was nothing to worry about, he must be one of the most relaxed dudes on Earth, though we left it till Christmas to let him know what was happening. I dashed out for a cigarette.

The 90 days ticked away, I got more and more stressed about the situation re. us moving to England. My homeland is dirty, expensive and lacks a lot that America has in abundance: Space, and lots of it. Ok, I was infatuated with the States, it's really not so great in comparison with Europe, but at that time it seemed Utopian to me. Kids on the whole are respectful here, proud to be what and where they are and I'd prefer that Jenn and I bring up our children in an atmosphere where teaching concepts like these aren't tantamount to abuse, as they are in silly libertarian Britain. So we discussed and discussed and eventually decided for these and other reasons to settle in the US for the time being. Which just left us the problem of my immigration.

We researched a lot and found that I could leave the country and return to England, then apply to the Dept. of Justice for a fiancé visa from there, return to Oklahoma after a possible six month wait and marry Jennifer, then apply for permanent resident status. About three weeks before I was due to leave we went to the local INS office and asked for the relevant papers and forms. Imagine our surprise when the officer at the desk suggested "Why don't y'all just get married here, then apply for the Green Card? As long as you get your applications in before your leaving date and after your wedding, you'll be allowed to stay till your application for residency has been processed." This is not what I'd been led to expect from the INS. They were in fact, HELPFUL.

We got married two weeks later. At the Oklahoma County Courthouse. Credit must go out to our families for their tolerance of our craziness, especially mine who flew out from the UK at this incredibly short notice. Actually it was a lovely wedding, we went the whole hog, or as much of the hog as we could manage in the time. We wore traditional wedding garb, Jenn looked fantastic in her dress, wandering down the clinical corridors, trying to find the chapel. We ended up going the wrong way, with the entire family in tow, towards the cell blocks and were treated to a parade of felons in striking orange, all chained together and with surprised expressions on their faces to see all of us coming the other way in all our wedding finery. But that's another story.

So, after hiring, firing then hiring again an immigration attorney (not recommended unless you're in actual trouble with the INS, we just did it out of insecurity) and a tough few months of stressing, we had our interview. If you are in a similar situation and are nervous about it, I'd just like to say don't be. An attorney will blow the situation up out of all proportion to freak you into retaining him/her, but it's a piece of cake, seriously. We got asked a few questions, were not separated, showed the guy a few photos and my passport got stamped, for the second time in my life, with temporary evidence of my legal status of permanent resident.

So I'm still here. We both are, happily. I'm a little disillusioned with the USA, it's not really any better than Britain give or take a few things, but the weather's nicer and Oklahoma isn't everything the States have to offer. So we'll stay for a few years, at least until I can apply for my citizenship, then perhaps move back to Europe, or maybe we'll just move to a state that's a little less repressed. But for now, here I still am, one whole surprising year since I last saw my old home.

She's back in my life. I'm stunned. Reeling. In shock. I'll never feel the same way about Mondays again.

I haven't seen her for a few weeks. We've talked on the phone twice. The first week or two, I shrugged it off, went out all the time - drank almost every day, ate chocolate (any clues here??? Nah. I'm fine. I don't need her.) As the days went on, I let go of the chocolate and the alcohol. I went back to my normal eating and drinking habits. Went back to the gym. And it got worse. I missed her more. I felt desolate. I tried over and over again to play my drums, to create art on my car. I would start - and then stop in a few minutes. I couldn't create anything. I couldn't even write. I just didn't care. I felt the pain of her loss in my heart, my mind, my body. I couldn't bear to remember anything we had shared together. I wore the necklace she gave me every day. I still carried her photo around, her cheesy school photo. Damn kindergarten teachers!

I went through another horrible weekend, where I piled on the people and the activities to drown out the sound of my heart breaking. I finally called my old therapist and made an appointment. I wanted to find out how I could (a) get along without her, get over her or (b) see her and accept her marriage as it is. I was hoping that just talking to the therapist would give me the magic to break free of something so I could stop feeling so dead.

She e-mailed me yesterday and said she had good news; could she see me Wednesday? I mailed her back, grasping for any excuse to see her, missing her desperately now - even at the risk of incurring ever more tremendous pain. How about tonight? So - we met.

I thought of all kinds of things she might have to tell me - she told her girlfriend to bugger off; her husband is taking that job in California and she's staying here; I couldn't think of anything else. But I was wrong, so wrong. She's leaving her husband for me after the holidays. She's sure. She wouldn't have told me if she wasn't sure. Yes, she's leaving him to be with me; but if I end up not staying, it will be okay. I'm reeling. I have walled up most of my memories of our relationship, unable to bear the pain. They are now trickling back in, images, sensations, scents, words. This is so astounding, amazing, unbelievable. I never ever thought it would happen; my secret, deepest desire come true. She has told me over and over how much I mean to her. I have discounted it of course. But - now I cannot. I must face the truth. She really, really loves me this much.

And I? I love her - yes. It's a new love, fresh; and so far - she's everything I've ever wanted in a mate. I will see her again tomorrow. I don't know if I will be able to stop touching her.

Jury selection for my trial began today. There were a total of 50 possible cuts. Prosecution had 25, and the other 25 were divided between the defendants, with 5 individual and 10 group. The attorneys are concerned that this will make them look like a team, but since 25 isn't divisible by 3, it's a little tricky to sort it out better.

In court with us are my attorney's two aides, both law students. One is a family member, the other an animal rights activist she defends on other matters. They will be helping us select a jury. We debate about where everyone is going to sit, as there are 8 people on the defense side and only room for 4 at the table. My group takes the chairs behind the table so we can talk about the prospective jurors.

We start with a group of 12. They sit in the jury box, state their name, place of residence, and occupation. If they have a spouse or kids they say what their occupations are. Each juror has a form of questions they have to look over and tell the court if they have any "yes" answers to. The questions were things like:

Have you ever been the victim of a crime?
Was the perpetrator ever caught or convicted?
Are any of your friends or family in law enforcement?

There are some automatic disqualifications during this period. Some people have police officers in their family. One man was a victim of police brutality and is shaking as he asks to be excused. We also lose a woman who was at a fundraiser for legal defense for our coarrestees, a man reading The Fellowship of the Ring who is a green party member and had friends in the demonstration, and a man who demonstrated against Cambodia and would never favor police officers over demonstrators. Some people are too conservative.

The first cuts are a man who is not very smart and a man who doesn't understand English very well. Also cut immediately was a man who said he couldn't see what all the fuss was about. He was a loose cannon, half his answers sounded good, the other half were just weird. I notice a man wearing a shirt with sailboats on it. He picks up the forms from the other prospectives as they leave for lunch. Later, he will hang my jury, but now, my first impression of him is that he has leadership skills.

Over the next two days we select the jury. We end up keeping two jurors, numbers 3 and 11, who make us nervous. 11 makes us nervous because she said she would be more likely to believe police officers than civilians, and 3 because she was wearing a flag pin.

Each side in asking questions tried to find out which side the jurors would be biased towards. No one selects to get a fair jury; everyone wants to stack it in their favor, but by weeding out the jurors that the other side likes the theory is that you end up in the middle.

The prosecutor started making veiled references to September 11, 2001 and quoting George W. Bush, the line about drawing no distinction between terrorists and those who harbor them. Before the trial starts, the defense attorneys ask that the word terrorist not be used and that allusions to the September 11 tragedy not be made, as they have no relation to the events and would serve only to bias the jury.

Jury selection takes all day today and all day tomorrow. On Wednesday we have to call for more prospective jurors so that we can pick alternates.

The judge gets increasingly grouchy as jury selection drags on. He blames the defense for taking so long and cutting so many jurors, even though they've only cut one more person than the prosecution has.

Wednesday at noon we have a jury. The judge dismisses them for the Thanksgiving weekend. We come back after lunch so that the attorneys can make motions and argue about the language to be used during the trial.

To see how this started, please see my daylog for May 3, 2001.
For difficulties in dealing with court dates, please see my daylog for May 7, 2001.
The charges against me are listed on May 10, 2001.
For an account of my first arraignment hearing, please see my daylog for May 24, 2001.
For an account of my bad dealings with my codefendants, please see my daylog for May 30, 2001.
For an account of my second arraignment hearing, please see my daylog for June 22, 2001.
For an account of my decision to go to trial, please see my daylog for October 31, 2001.
For an account of pretrial matters and my journey to LA, please see my daylog for November 17, 2001.
For an account of my codefendant's plea bargaining, please see my daylog for November 24, 2001.
For an account of my testimony, please see my daylog for December 5, 2001.
For my verdict, please see my daylog for December 13, 2001.

My first day log, and yet not really a day log. This was written by me on November 19, 2001 regarding September 11, 2001 and its aftermath, in a 1,961 byte file called replrand.txt. I'm only reviewing it today.
"He that scatters thorns, let him not go barefoot."
 - Ben Franklin

If a ruler's own behavior is considered undesirable by others, what actions should they use against the ruler?

If you want to convince people what is and isn't correct procedure, reasons for your opinions must be given. The difference is that the pawns of rulers are told what is right procedure, while anarchists, prophets, or whatever you want to call them, decide for themselves.

There is of course a gray area that then depends on other axes like the severity and directness of the "undesired" behavior. Say we start off at chasing off perps. If someone is posing a threat to human life, then many will feel justified in escalating to capturing, maiming, killing, etc. If the person is no longer posing a direct threat, then there is a de-escalation process.

Then there are flanking maneuvers. If you really are trying to help those who are despised, then you go among them (doesn't matter if they are prostitutes, thieves, or even tax collectors) and you show them alternative ways of achieving their goals - assuming you can actually think of any.

Finally, you can flush out the full spectrum of things you do believe in - say chasing away through voting. What else has been left out? Let's say the Bush administration really is just trying to stop people who claim to be Muslims from killing more people. The most obvious thing his military advisers have left out is due to their lack of knowledge of psychological warfare. There are many valid Muslim interpretations of Islam out there - they may not all agree, but there are certainly a great number opposed to the killing of innocent people. Instead of just one-sided propaganda from the American viewpoint (clearly an unacceptable choice) - interpretations from all those other Muslim viewpoints would be much more easily accepted. Different versions by different individuals surely, but so long as it prevents more collateral damage in America, right?

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