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The past week, i feel i have met my node quota, that I feel obligated to the users of everything2.com to produce in a given month. On Average, I produce three nodes per month, most of them usually in one noding sprint of three or more nodes. If I haven't fufilled my node quota for the month, I am subject to beating myself about the head until I am sufficiently inspired.

In other news, i have decided to post my Christmas wish list here so that my friends, family and anyone kind enough to give knows that i really dont want clothes. E2 Tshirts are an exception of course.

17" Rota SubZero wheels (silver w/ machined lip)
New tires for maxima
Eibach Suspension springs
Tokiko or KYB struts
Front and rear performance swaybars
New or rebuilt trans and clutch
quality car alarm
winter tires
new subwoofer amplifier

$$ for new computer
Road runner for home or DSL
cheap VCR
DVD player

movies on DVD or VHS:

-13th Warrior, The (1999) 
-American Beauty (1999) 
-American History X (1998) 
-Bad Company (2002) 
-Basketball Diaries, The (1995) 
-Belly (1998) 
-Black Hawk Down (2001) 
-Boiler Room (2000) 
-Boyz N the Hood (1991) 
-Bully (2001) 
-Devil's Advocate, The (1997) 
-Falling Down (1993) 
-Fast and the Furious, The (2001) 
-Fight Club (1999) 
-Go (1999) 
-Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000) 
-Heat (1995) 
-Insider, The (1999) 
-Kalifornia (1993) 
-Kids (1995) 
-Knockaround Guys (2001) 
-Léon (1994) 
-Limey, The (1999) 
-Rounders (1998) 
-Salton Sea, The (2002) 
-Saving Private Ryan (1998) 
-Score, The (2001) 
-Se7en (1995) 
-Snatch. (2000) 
-Super Troopers (2001) 
-Trainspotting (1996) 
-Transporter, The (2002) 
-Usual Suspects, The (1995) 
-Wild at Heart (1990) 
-Wonder Boys (2000) 
-XXX (2002)

DVD burner for computer
Digital camera
CD burner.
MP3 player 64mb, small in size
modular desk system for home office
$$ for new office chair
music: 8 mile soundtrack

honda CBR, yamaha YZF, ducati Monster motorcycle
helmet
joe rocket jacket
gloves, boots

excedrin
nyquil
advil
asprin

food.

seiko titanium watch. thin. water resist, no gold. simple design
2.4 ghz cordless phone
an answering machine.
panasonic or braun dual or triple head electric wet dry shaver

Columbia River KISS simple folding knife. 3.5 inch.

a beanie for my head. i'm running out of hats.

I'm tired now. going to bed.

dmd came over last weekend with his girlfriend, Anna, and a friend named Caitlin. I had met both girls online, but never face-to-face contact. It was a busy Sunday; the first thing out of dmd's mouth when he got here was "Entertain me!"

After sufficient pleasantries and, most importantly, a nice lunch ("FOOD ME!"), we agreed to go to Longwood Gardens. Just an easy day of walking around, looking at the pretty trees and plants and talking.

It's incredibly refreshing to hang around really intelligent, quirky people, in real life, compared to the people I'm used to being around at school. And now for something completely different. Because of the way ticket prices are laid out, my ticket in to the Gardens was two dollars while Daniel's was fourteen. I pointed out to the girls that I was a far better deal than dmd - he was seven times as expensive but not even twice as good!

Before we had even gotten into the park, a rather random sequence of events led to Anna having stated that to her, all people are really the same. I pointed out that this must mean that since I'm fifteen, Daniel is also fifteen, and after a moment's thought, she agreed. I noted to Daniel when he came back from the restroom that Anna only liked him because he was jailbait. The look on his face was, I must say, priceless. As in, I wouldn't have paid a nickel for it.

We also got to see something that made the entire day worthwhile: A gaggle of Canadian geese took off from a pond. If you've never seen geese go from swimming to flying, you're missing out. It's fucking A'.

Unfortunately, what with all the leaves, the water fountains and streams and such had been shut off, which was a pity; the water fountains at Longwood Gardens are in a word, amazing.

We eventually got fixated upon trying to climb a tree, and upon our failure to get past the lowest branch, Daniel proclaimed us a "miserable failure of a species. Descended from monkeys and yet confounded by the simplest tree." By the time we gave up, the gardens had closed, leading us to an alternative route of exit.

We topped the night off with some sushi from Utage. I swear to $deity, JESUS HIMSELF does not get food this good in Heaven. It's like an orgasm inside your mouth, minus the icky wet spot in the bed.

All in all, I actually fared rather well; I didn't make a complete ass of myself, I managed to look semi-intelligent, say, twice... all in all, not bad! I think everyone enjoyed themselves, so 'twas a good Sunday.


What!?!? You thought that was incredibly boring and navel-gazing-ish? Look on the bright side:

At least it wasn't ANGSTY.

Antarctic Diary - November 19th, 2002

Mandatory coursework

Two classes consumed my day today. Antarctic waste training and a survival school refresher. It was a 45 minute lecture and video on how to toss away trash in Antarctica.

It seems that since the U.S. ratified the international Antarctica Conservation Treaty, it has been necessary by international law that all product of human activity on the continent be managed. This means any kind of human detritus, as well as people's actions.

It is illegal to modify the behavior of any native animal. If something you do causes a bird to fly away when it wanted to remain sitting, then you have committed a crime. If you make a penguin raise its flippers and squawk, you have committed a crime.

If a giant skua tries to peck your eyes out and you swat at it with a thermal mitten, you go to international jail, wherever that is.

Things get reasonably complex when dealing with trash. There are at least twelve categories of trash, and more if you ask the trash management people to get picky about it.

Food waste is pretty interesting. A beer can that hasn't been rinsed is food waste. Once you've rinsed it out, it becomes light metal.

They're very serious about garbage segregation--so much so that people are paid to go "dumpster diving" to weed out cans that are officially light metal from greasy half-eaten burgers and floppy cold pork rinds that become food waste.

Old bandaids and dental floss are contaminated biohazards. Unused bandaids and dental floss are construction waste.

And so on.

You are expected to take your time sorting your trash. Stewardship of the continent is everyone's responsibility.

The second class I took was called PUSH, or the survival school refresher. We were refamiliarized with the contents of a USAP survival bag. For those of you who aren't familiar with the bag, they come in one and two person versions. The bag itself is very thick plasticised kevlar colored deep red. It contains:

We learned about travelling on the sea ice, the different types of cracks and pressure ridges, and when it was safe to drive which trucks across the frozen ocean. We learned the three types of aircraft that land on the sea ice in descending order of size are the C-17, the C-141, and the C-131. The C-17 weighs some 400,000 pounds and can land on ice 18' thick.

The problem with landing planes on the ice, apparently, is in letting them sit. If they stay in one place too long they begin to sink. The depressions left by the wheels may form cracks that descend to the liquid water below. That water can rise into the depression and freeze, freezing the plane to the ice. So, the planes have to be moved regularly.

We also learned the thicker the ice is the higher it rides in the water. The amount of ice between the ice surface and the water surface is called "freeboard" and is similar to the nautical term.

The rule of thumb for driving vehicles across a crack on the ice is that for ice less that 30 inches thick, the vehicle should not be driven across a crack where the crack width is greater than 1/3 the footprint of the vehicles tread or tire.

For instance, a truck tire is considered to have a "footprint" of about 6 inches. That means you shouldn't drive a truck across a crack in the ice that's wider than 2 inches if the ice around the crack is less than 30 inches thick.

A tracked vehicle called a Pistin Bully has a footprint of 9 feet and can go across pretty wide cracks.

We relearned the warning signs of hypothermia. Shivering. Excessive urination. Confusion. Irritability. And eventual, loss of consciousness. In all cases the cure was to get warm. The fastest way to get warm when outside is to drink a warm beverage. The next best thing to do is eat, and finally, move around. Therefore the slogan: Drink, Eat and Be Merry will help you remember how to apply your warming first aid.

We lit camp stoves and built tents in the machine shop. Nobody wanted to go outside, so we didn't bother setting up the HF radio to try to contact the south pole station. We all had done it already in Happy Camper School.

Now I am re-certified to go out into the field. We're going to try to get our equipment on a helicopter this Thursday, and we will travel on Monday barring any terrible storms.

The aim of The Meal Game is to construct the largest inedible meal possible. The best time to play this is in restaurants in the time between ordering your food and the food arriving. You take it in turns to name an ingredient to a meal. Each new ingredient cannot go with any of the previous ones.

The best way to explain this would be to describe a typical game. For example, somebody would say

"Tomatoes."

Now player two can think of any foodstuff he likes, as long as you'd never eat it with tomatoes. He can't have cheese - what do you think pizzas are? Can't go with any kind of salad vegetable either, so let's go for...

"Hot chocolate."

Player three now has to think of a kind of food which doesn't go with tomatoes OR hot chocolate. Tricky. But can you do it?

"Oysters."

w00t. Now, something that doesn't go with oysters OR hot chocolate OR tomatoes? (If you really want to, you can get a pen and paper to try and remember all these, but usually memory will suffice.)

"Whipped cream?"

Nice try, player four, but whipped cream goes quite nicely with hot chocolate. Game Over, you lose. But not to worry, you can carry on regardless: the idea of this game is not to win or lose, but just to start arguments over what you can and can't eat. The largest undisputed meal I ever came up with was about eight ingredients and began something like: "Bread, mashed potatoes, tomatoes, vinegar, figs, dark chocolate..." I forget the rest. Feel free to /msg me with suggestions.

Hardcore version:

Played exactly as before, except in a real kitchen and with real food. The loser is required to eat the resulting meal.

I went to bed early last night so I could wake up in time this morning to see the Leonid meteor shower. NASA's web site hinted it would peak about 5:22, so I was out there by about 5:15.

I live in suburbia, so the city glow is moderate. Unfortunately, all my neighbors had their outside lights on. Even so, the moon overpowered their lights.

As bright as the sky was, I was afraid it would be difficult to see enough stars to locate Leo. Luckily, Orion was quite visible, and Jupiter was very handily near the center of action this year.

In the first 30 seconds of watching, I saw about 5 meteors, and a few more in the following minutes. After that, not much. Discouraged by the damp cold and the light pollution, I went back inside. Even so, I feel satisfied. Last year, the leonids were rained out, and so I saw nothing. It's been a while since I could see 10 meteors in less than 5 minutes.

They say this will be the last good viewing of the Leonid meteor shower in a while. Oh well; there are always others.

After an early morning, longer-than-expected, pre-dawn run through a quiet but menacingly affluent neighborhood, finishing with a quarter-mile sprint, brief cooldown, the solar winds buffing the morning sky a cold steel blue, peeling sweaty clothes on the back porch, a few asanas of naked yoga, quick shower and shave, putting meals together for the workday and then dressing -- I had to stop in to SweetfaceBoy's room.

He had sleepwalked into our room during the night and wedged himself between me and Lovey, the light weight of his draped arm or leg an incidental blanket.

Still so small. Just turned eight too fast. I want to put on the brakes, increase the years to 730 days each, maintain his wonder and innocence.

So his room was empty, his blankets intact since he loves the order of a made bed, just the slight impression his 65 pounds make. I looked around.

A big stuffed Tigger in the corner. Legos on every flat surface. A petrified snake lurking on the armoire. Big blue backpack hanging from the closet door, filled with second-grade homework printed impeccably. Goosebumps novels, snake books, Lego magazines and Bionicle comic books stacked neatly on his desk.

All of it so fleeting. All of it evaporating like mist before a rising sun.

I closed the door and stood in the hallway. Coming from my room I could hear his soft snore. Even now it is like grasping mercury, but I have to remember. I have to cherish it all.

I left the following letter on my upstairs neighbor's front door this morning (I apologize if it offends any Bob Dylan fans):

Dear Neighbor,

I am writing to tell you about an amazing invention -- headphones. Perhaps you’ve heard of them? They look a little like earmuffs, and they plug into a jack in your stereo system marked “headphones” -- isn’t that convenient? What makes them so revolutionary is that you can hear music played on your stereo without anyone else hearing. It’s like having speakers implanted in your ears -- amazing!

This is not to say that I don’t appreciate your attempts to share Bob Dylan with me, my wife, and my dog. He did win an Academy Award for his work on the Wonder Boys soundtrack and is famous the world over for his hits in the 1960’s. But I tend to go to bed around 11:30 on weeknights, and I don’t enjoy being kept awake by music I don’t like at 12:30 am. I hope it’s not too presumptuous of me to ask that you please consider using a pair of headphones after 11:00 pm. I know it would be a great sacrifice for you, particularly because you seem to like to listen to loud music late at night while stomping around your apartment. I know that a headphone cord will greatly limit the range of your stomping, but perhaps I could suggest another invention to you -- the portable CD player. Not only does it use headphones (which we’ve already established as revolutionary), but it’s like a small stereo that -- get this -- you can carry around with you! Imagine that! You could take Bob Dylan wherever you go.

I know I’ve had to come upstairs to your apartment twice now to beg you to please turn down your music so I can sleep. This is probably a great inconvenience since you have to put down your bong and answer your door, and I’m really sorry about that. I know I’ve even told you that it freaks out my dog, who wants to know why he can clearly hear Bob Dylan’s voice in our apartment. And that my wife worries that I’ll do something drastic in retaliation for being woken up on a work night. Well, retaliation is in my nature. You should be afraid.

See, you listen to music that me and my friends back in high school used to refer to as “hippy shit.” Despite my scruffy beard and geeky glasses, it’s probably not apparent that I am an aficionado of punk, hardcore, emo and metal. I know, I know -- it’s insane. Why, you can’t even hear me listening to it! (That’s because of the fact that a. I use headphones, and b. I make sure that when I do play records on my stereo, it’s not so loud that people outside my apartment can hear it -- imagine that). But it’s true, I have a very large collection of big-sounding abrasive rock music.

So here’s the deal, neighbor: if you don’t start being a little more considerate of me, I’m going to stop being considerate of you. I know you and your roommate like to go out and party at the bars in Adams Morgan on Friday and Saturday nights. And I also know that it’s very likely that you sleep late on Saturday and Sunday mornings as you wait for the hangover to wear off. Since you’re a college kid, I suspect that you also sleep late most mornings, but damn it all, I have to work so I’m not there to do anything. But rest assured, I will be more than happy to share my music with you on the weekends.

I’m not sure if you’ve heard of System of a Down, but they’re a really smart, political metal band. They’re not like Limp Bizkit or POD or any of that teenybopper shit -- they’re the real deal. They rock, to put it simply. And they’re angry -- really angry. And you my friend, will get to hear them in all their glory this Saturday morning if you don’t learn to use that volume knob after 11:00 or buy yourself a pair of headphones. I think I’ll put them on around 9:30 am and listen to the record in its entirety. I might even leave it on repeat when my wife and I step out to get some breakfast. Just so you can enjoy it.

Not only that, but please let me inform you that I am also a big fan of first person shooter PC games. Normally, I use headphones while I play -- but I’ve been itching to hear all the explosions and the death throes of my fallen adversaries in their digital surround sound glory. I think you’ll like that, too.

Anyway, I think I’ve given you some things to think about. I hope you have a good night’s sleep! Have fun Saturday night, and go light on the Long Island Ice Tea, okay?

Love,

-Your Neighbor in Apartment 207

ps: Your guitar playing stinks. You might want to consider getting some lessons. Just some advice!

Leonid meteor shower watch report

Location: Gatineau QC, 45:29N/75:43W

Time: 05:15 EST

Weather: -3°C, Overcast

Meteorite Sightings: 0

Fuck.

Next

Today started rather early, when the alarm went off at 4:30 so we could go see the Leonid Meteor Storm at it's 5:20 peak. We booked a bed and breakfast (the Murphin Ridge Inn) way out in the boonies so it'd be nice and dark. The weather called for cloudy and rain, but I kept my hopes up. I was awake something like every hour, in that way that you do when you know you have to wake up at some unreasonably early hour. I had many many dreams, all meteor shower related. Some set simply where I actually was, in which the sky cleared up just at the right moment. Others involved the seashore and flooding and boardwalks and hoodlums.

As it turned out, at 5AM it was cloudy and raining lightly. I bundled up and went outside, just in case. It was actually quite pleasant: quiet and peaceful. Occasionally I saw lights go on in other cabins, as other hopeful stargazers checked the weather. Then back inside. Back to sleep.

8 AM comes really early after a night like that, but we got ourselves together, got back to the main building for a typical bed and breakfast breakfast. Then drive an hour back to Cinci, give Amelia back to the folks at her school, and head home to try and get some work done.

Much of the day was spent with the utter tedium of trying to calculate the basis price for my mutual funds. It's not like there's a lot of money in them, but I bought them in early 1998, and I have the dividends set to automatically re-invest, so the basis keeps changing, and E*Trade doesn't do enough bookkeeping to make it easy. Plus, I can only get past statements back to January 2000, and I still have big holes in 1998.

Other than that, just some coding for work and dull stuff like that. At dinner, Amelia was really going gangbusters with her spoon (meaning she was successfully using it to eat). Who is this little girl, and what has she done with my baby?

My wife got to bed a little bit ago, and is reading. I finally got her to start Batman: the Dark Knight Returns last night, and she is hooked and is finishing it now. I've got Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again hurtling toward me in the mail, so we'll be all ready to dive into the sequel. At the moment, I'm re-reading The Two Towers, so I'll be primed for the movie next month.

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