Today I went to the magical and mystical Tokyo Game Show.

It was held in Makuhari Messe, also known as the Nippon Convention Center.

Right when I walk into the main doors, my senses are bombarded. My eyes are filled the bright lights and intimidating presence of the Microsoft booth. My ears are filled with the phat beats from the Yamaha booth, where they are letting people sample their DJ remixing equipment. And my nose detects the scent of curry. I remember that I have not eaten breakfast and that I am hungry.

I quickly scan the area for my favorite companies. Unfortunately, the only thing I can see is the Microsoft X-Box booth. I curse the company in my mind and started what would turn out to be a long day filled with a lot of walking.

The place is crowded. Not as crowded as Comiket was, but there were still lots of people around. Fans, industry, booth girls, and cosplayers were all there.

After more walking around, I see nothing that interests me. There are a lot of booths selling video game merchandise here, but I'm not interested in that stuff yet. The Sammy booth is also here, and there appears to be a Guilty Gear X competition going on. The line was a bit too long, and I didn't think my skills were up to par, so I decide to pass for now. I tell myself to come back later and head into the second building.

Here I see the things that interest me. Namco, Konami, Squaresoft, and Capcom logos are plastered everywhere. I make a beeline for the Squaresoft booth to see what they have. The Final Fantasy XI character designs look interesting, but there's nothing too special. I meander into the Capcom booth and find nothing special there either. I feel vaguely disappointed and ripped off...Tokyo Game Show was supposed to be a paradise for a console gamer like me.

But my redemption comes from the Konami booth. Sweet sweet Konami. I see the fantastic new Metal Gear Solid 2 trailer and my brain turns to jello. It is filled with giant robots, guns, soldiers in gas masks with katanas facing off with Snake who is holding a Colt M4A1. There is a character that looks like a less frail version of Darth Vader without the helmet, twirling a Fabrique Nationale P90 like it was a cowboy revolver. The giant robot turns towards the screen and opens its mechanical maw, snarling like a dinosaur. Add that to the fact that the audio was coming from a pair of speakers about twice as tall as I am, and I was in heaven.

Not only did the Konami booth have Metal Gear Solid 2, but it also had the Suikoden 3 preview. I watched that three times before wandering around some more.

At this point, I'm a bit disoriented by all the bright flashing lights. I look up and see a giant Pac-man, so I assume I'm in the Namco booth. I look for information regarding Soul Calibur 2 and unfortunately find nothing. Shame on you Namco. Shame.

My stomach calls to me again, and I return to the place where I smelled curry. There is a set of stands selling things like yakisoba (Japanese stir-fried noodles), hot dogs, and takoyaki (sort of like grilled octopus dumplings]. I grab the yakisoba and hot dog set and settle down for the most surreal experience of the day, lunch.

I am standing at a table, because the tables have no chairs. The table in front of me is being occupied by two groups, one cosplaying as characters from Suikoden (wee!) and another from the fighting game Guilty Gear X. There is also another Suikoden group on the table to the left of me. As I eat, the people next to me leave, and are replaced by a Heat from Bust a Groove and a girl in a sort of futuristic red battle armor. I remember I looked up the name of this series at one point because I saw a lot of costumes from it, but unfortunately I have forgotten the name again. Stupid brain. I continue enjoying my noodles and my hot dog when a group of industry people walk by. They want to take a picture with the girl in the armor. I sort of lean back because I don't like cameras. They steal your soul, you know.

I see two exceptionally good cosplayers walk by as I am eating, a Locke and a Relm from Final Fantasy 6. I finish up my food and decide to get a drink, getting in line behind a Milia from Guilty Gear X. I realize they are just looking at the menu and I walk around her to get a bottle of tea. I see the face and realize that she is actually a he. A bit surprised, but not really, I continue on with the rest of my explorations.

The rest of the day continues on in much the same manner.
Early this morning, at about 2am (EDT), I sat down at my computer to find that my ISP had some routing issues (or somthing) and I could not get onto the E2 site. ACK.

Of course it was not this simple, as I'm no computing genius. I mean I know my way around a computer, just not any of that funky techie stuff.

So of course I open Internet Explorer (which I have come to hate recently, although it is better than most alternatives, namely evil Netscape) and I get the infamous Cannot Find Server screen. What fun. So I reboot, and still nothing. Then I bug a couple technically inclined people I know, and they both conclude its my ISP.

Bell I hate you.

I was all ready to node about some really neato stuff (which I now forget, OF COURSE). So I was freaking out, swearing and generally over-reacting which I have a tendancy to do.

And then came the realization:

I'm an E2 addict.

And I'm ok with this addiction. Infact I really quite like it. Its a productive addiction, as well as a progressive one. And not many other addictions have those two things to their credit. So long live my E2 addiction!

I've learned another thing I hate is the Insert key. I'm constantly hitting it accidentally and then messing everything up. If anyone knows how to turn off that over write thing, please let me know!

Update (Oct 14): I just took the damn key off. Now I need a good sticker to put in its place.

I started to write a writeup on al Qaeda. I noticed there's no writeup on al Qaeda. Well, in the middle of it, I got really scared and deleted it. Is this why there's no writeup? I mean, I don't want to offend any one, certainly I don't want to piss anyone off, so I was trying to be factual without being judgemental, but I don't know if I can do it.

So maybe I'll go outside.

I'm going to download Mozilla 0.9.5 since Internet Explorer keeps crashing on me (it was also crashing during my abortive al Qaeda writeup. Perhaps it had an opinion on this as well?)

I have a presentation to write for a conference in Portland, Oregon. Yes, I'm flying next week. I think it will be fine. My only concession was not choosing a nonstop transcontinental flight.

A story of insomnia, 'net addiction and E2 newbies

I do remember sleep, back in the day when I had some. I don't know yet whether my splurge of writing in E2 is cause or effect, but I'm certainly not getting enough! I'm tired and cranky, and I'm feeling my age for once. It's worse today, because I had a phantom burglar, and had to get up and creep round the house with my Mag-Lite to reassure myself that there wasn't anyone there really. Of course, getting back into bed, I then couldn't sleep!

So what else? Well, the ntl cable service died for a couple of hours yesterday, and after over an hour on the phone, they still couldn't tell me what was happening. So it was back to the old 56K modem until, as if by magic, the service returned, quickly followed by an orgy of downloading.

Then there was this morning. A newbie (I shall not name and shame) was dropping his write-ups into the gel as fast as they could be deleted - the first of which was his sordid tale of 24 hours of masturbation. of course, helpful as ever, I dropped him a /msg. No reply. The second write-up appears, another message, more silence. A pattern developed, and I realise that this newbie may have switched off the chatterbox! What to do? New Writeups was getting fuller and fuller. I posted a new writeup, calling him by name to read his inbox, /msg me... Well, it worked. Quick as a flash, into Noder's Nursery he went, Lord Brawl in with him. Problem solved. For a time. (This is not a new idea, I've seen it before - from dannye, I think.)

It did set me thinking though - now this happens quite a lot, someone goes on his newbie noding spree, and doesn't repond to messages, often because they have switched off the chatterbox! So why not, I thought, have a Level 1 noder unable to switch off the incoming messages. At least that takes some of the problems away - contact is easier, provided they don't ignore 'em.

So now I ready myself to pop out, to meet WyldWind, who is coming up from London to go to Rock City (best club in Nottingham). And another excuse to get no sleep...

The surreality of daily life continues to amaze and delight...
The news that so many Britons have filled in 'Jedi Knight' for religious preference on a recent census form that the next census form will have to include it as a religion caused me no end of joy this week. The insidious nature of myth in culture proves to remain constant. This jibes well with the Jesus/Elvis religious genesis that I always imagine will be a legacy of the 20th century.
Then we have the phenomenon of Pakistani posters showing images of Osama Bin Lauden with our old friend Bert, the Sesame Street curmudgeon. No matter what the roots of that image are, the fact that it's become a part of the national dialgoue speaks of the pervasiveness of American media. I wonder if Bert is a Muslim? I bet Ernie is a Taoist.
Fixed mom's 'puter yesterday... if you call reformatting and reinstalling everything fixing. She lost her solitaire scores and her old emails, but there was no rescourse I could find. The poor little iMac could not see its own hard drive, the error message said Keys out of order. 4, 32. Best info I could come up with said this was a frag problem. I couldn't fool it onto doing anything, so reformat. Mom was pleased that all the email she'd not received yet was not lost! Heh. This from the woman who once sent me email reading "Will you come fix my computer? I can't get online." Gotta love Mom.
It's a lovely day, crisp fall, my favorite light and colors. Time to get out in it.
I spent most of today at a demonstration against this 'war on terrorism' that's being fought on our behalf. The demo was bigger than any I've seen since the Poll Tax - we might have come pretty close with some of the actions against the Criminal Justice Act, but I haven't seen Trafalgar Square and the surrounding streets that full in about a decade. Official police estimates suggest about 20,000 people, which probably means more like 30,000 actually came - almost as many as will fit in that space. There's obviously a lot of people who feel strongly against what's going on, although you would hardly know it from the mainstream media.

A couple of statistics from today's Evening Standard that I'm having trouble digesting: Although 34% of those questioned agreed that "America and Britain have acted wrongly, because only the United Nations Organisation has the moral and legal right to take military action against Islamic terrorism" 79% nevertheless said they support America's decision to take military action in Afghanistan. On the face of it, that leaves at least 13% approving of the action even though they consider it to be wrong. Hmm. Also, 79% agree that "Britain's involvement in military action has made it more likely that our country will be attacked by Islamic terrorists." That means, apparently, that somewhere between 68% and 79% approve even though they expect 'the war against terrorism' to promote terrorism against us.

People are strange.

My pictures and more about the march are at

I've been away for a while, due to other commitments, and probably will remain so for quite some time.

However, I'd like to note that when I loaded up e2 this evening I had a thank you message for noding something I viewed as a "labour of love".

Damn, I feel minty fresh now!

Bliss, it has been said, is being married to your best friend.
That works out great. But what if you're in love with your best friend, and she doesn't feel the same way?

Her name's Melissa, but we all call her Missy. I've known her for over 6 years now. She knows all my dark secrets. I know hers.

And then one day, something happened. I fell in love with her. Not just these stupid highschool crushes, actual, heart-wrenching love. I was pretty sure she didn't feel the same way, so I didn't act on it. That was the biggest mistake of my whole life. She dated a few guys, and it hurt me to see them together, not only because they were not me, but because the relationships were shallow, pointless relationships based almost purely on sex.

I gave up, decided I didn't feel like being alone, so I went out with some girl (who I didn't much like, but I knew she liked me.) That relationship lasted for over a year, but it distracted me so I didn't end it untill she REALLY got on my nerves. Anyways, we broke up and my feelings for Melissa came back with a vengeance.

I haven't been able to look at anyone, or talk to anyone, or even casually think of anyone, and still be able to feel anything since. I've tried. There's a few people, all intelligent, good looking, fun to be with and all that other great stuff, and who like me to top it off, but they don't do anything for me. All I can think of is her.

I asked her the other day "If I were to ask you out (I'm not going to) what would your response be?". She replied that "We're too good friends, you're like a brother to me. Sorry". This is over ICQ. She can't see me crying. "Meh, just wondering"

I found out today from a friend that she's mad at me. She'd rather not go on our semi-regular coffee outings.

I fucked it up. I fucked up the most important friendship I ever had. I fucked it up because i had to go and fall in love.

And yet, I still can't get over her.
My mom said that it's important for us to read the news. My psychology teacher said that it's important for us to read the news. My boyfriend said that it's important for us to read the news.

Reluctantly, I pick up the front page of the San Jose Mercury News. I see the word "Anthrax", quickly shove it aside. Underneath: Business. I see pictures of airplanes, quickly shove that aside too. No Family & Religion, either. It's invaded Arts & Entertainment, too.

I settle for Real Estate. Although it's a tricky maneuver, I avoid the section about the declining economy and fix my eyes on the left side of the page. Fantasy home of the week: "Wood-and-glass custom home rustic right down to the oak trees around it". Perfect.

As if this were the first time I found acceptable reading material in my life, I develop tunnel vision. All I see is a single block of bold, about point size 11 sans-serif text. "Rustic, two-story wood-and-glass custom home surrounded by mature oak trees; beamed ceilings; five beedrooms, three baths, mirrored fitness room; 5,000 square feet; 21 years old; half-acre-plus; four-car garage; tiled west-facing deck; bay and valley views."

I move my eyes carefully to the picture. Wow. It's beautiful. My dream house. I think fleetingly about how I previously denounced the thought of having a "dream house" as shallow, materialistic. It doesn't matter. Right now, all I care about is this house. My house, my beautiful house, my beautiful lifebeautifulhousebeautifullife. My boyfriend and I can live here forever, this is our shelter, this is our beautifullifebeautifulhousebeautiful life. Because all I care about is this house.

Because I don't care about the Anthrax on page 1.

Because I don't care about the fucking economy.

Because I don't care about how... how on the first page of The Valley, Sarah Richardson, age 9, said "Maybe God will hear us doing the pledge and let all the good people who died come back."

I am cold and unfeeling. I am cold and unfeeling. I do not care. I do not care.

You may see us but we do not see you. We do not care.

This is something that I should have done a long time ago:

I loved the way you used to crinkle your nose at me, my little rhino. I loved that I had a car and you didn't so I could be your taxi driver for free. I loved that we spent most of our time together at night, so I could spend the whole day thinking about you. I loved that you graduated from high school because of me.

I hated that I lost all of my friends because of what we did. I hated that you were still in love with my best friend. I hated that we had to act like we weren't together. I hated that our whole relationship felt like pretend.

I loved how you taught me how to kiss, and all those other things. I loved that we would never really watch any of those movies we tried to see. I loved that we would only go to Taco Bell at 3 in the morning. I loved that you stole your grandma's car to see me.

I hated that you never came to see me once when I had mono. I hated that as soon as school started and your friends took you back, you broke up with me. I hated that I was in love with you. I hated that you were never in love with me.

What a day.

Got up at 7:45 AM EST. Ate breakfast, some hygiene. No shower, it was my first day at work, and work is dirty anyway. And I didn't smell.

Got to work at 9. 20 minute drive. This guy Warren hired me, he is a contractor who fixes up houses. He pays cash. Good thing if you're an immigrant and Uncle Sam doesn't want you to work in the US of A.

So I get there at 9 AM, and wait about 10 minutes for Warren to show up. Why are Americans always late? Anyway, he turns out to be a real nice guy. Some other guy by the name of James pulls up, he has a firm handshake. Good thing.

So we start fixing up the house, a nice house indeed. Nice neighbourhood, pool, canal access with dock. I get the bad work...roughing up all the woodwork with sandpaper. Yay. So I am there on my knees on tiles and carpet for about four hours roughing up all the doors and the rest of the woodwork.
Then I got to fill all the holes in the walls. After that rough up all the walls in the house. Fun, exitement. Lastly, squeeze calk(sp?) on top of the little woodpannels and spread it nicely. That stuff made my hands stick together.

James is a weird but fun guy. He is 43 (I think), and he has been through a lot of weird stuff. So he is sitting there telling me that I should go to school as long as I can (that's what I do). He didn't. He dropped out of school at age 15, took his GED at 16, and could've gone to college. His dad was rich, he had a big college fund for him. But he didn't go. He took a job pressure cleaning roofs. $800 a week, he said. That's why he didn't take the job at the post office that was offered to him by his dad who was in charge there. His dad didn't talk to him for 5 years after that.
Other tales include how he got 90 days jail for firing a gun in the air when he was attacked with bottles by 5 drunk teenagers, and how he just got pulled over 30 minutes ago on his way to Circle K.

Anyway, work was OK and I wasn't bored. I got paid $8 an hour, not bad.

So on my way home I stop by my best friend's house. He just got DSL yesterday and I have to say it is pretty sweet. 150 MB in 25 minutes ain't bad. I wish I had it. But then again, I have no money. And a girlfriend (or so I thought).

Then I went home. This is when my day turned bad.

I tried to call Valerie, my girlfriend. Busy. I go online, see her on AIM. I say 'Hi, how are you. I tried to call.' The answer is 'ok. u?'
Usually she talks more. And not in these stupid abbreviations.
Me:'Do you want to go out tonight?'
Her:'Not really.'
me:'Why not?'
her:'I have a problem'

So I call her, to find out what the problem is.
Turns out that the 'problem' is that she 'has been thinking,' and came that she likes me 'really really really really much.' She just isn't 'ready for another relationship.'
She tells me that. In those exact words.
I don't believe it. Why did she go out with me in the first place? Why didn't she make up her mind earlier? Why did she make me fall in love with her?

I wish I knew the answer, but I don't.
She said that she 'needs some time,' and that we maybe can get 'back together' when she is 'ready for it.'


That guy James at work today said 'people suck. Why? Because they always fuck you over, no matter if you're friends with them for 15 years or just a bum on the street.'
Maybe he is right.

But I won't be the judge on that, at least not now.

She has been the first American girl ever to catch my attention. After being single for 2 fucking years, I finally find one, just to be fucked over.

Maybe there is a god, and he/she/it hates me for not believing in him/her/it. But then again, I don't give a shit. Not anymore.

Good night, E2.
So we are all growing up it seems, in our own little corners of the world, far away or close and I thought of you a few times today. There are so many October babies in my life.

It is over here, your birthday, but you are far so you are still living it, right now and so I guess there is still time to scrawl down some words "in the moment" or at least in close proximity. I can write a billion words for a stranger but it is almost awkward to write anything for someone who means a lot to me for countless reasons. Here is how I have seen you..

You are this beautiful creature and it isn't just a physical sort of thing, glowing.. you are always glowing and full of emotion and that is so refreshing to me. There are many people in my life who stare blankly at the world, who stopped dreaming a long time ago. I sometimes think that you are how so many people should be.. always dreams and ideas and things that don't make sense to everyone who grew up so fast they still have remnants of the sandbox in their shiny dress shoes.

You are so cute, and no I am not hitting on you but you really, really are. All funny and sarcastic.. I have a lot of trouble getting close to people these days but you are comfortable.

I don't swim well. Not in water and definitely not in my own head.. I am always drowning and dramatic and there are never enough ears for anyone. You should know that you have found your way into the little bits of me that hold all the things and people I love and so I will always be there to listen, and to try and make the world a little softer, at least some of the time.

So I guess this is what I am trying to say.. I am so happy that at least one of us is going to be able to do what they need to do. And I am glad that there is at least one person who still knows how to follow a heart.

happy birthday, leetle l..
Today I met a bunch of noders, but let's back it up some first.

My girlfriend lost her contract yesterday, so she packed up her corporate apartment and drove home from Cincinnati. She told me not to wait up, but of course I did anyway; I was getting sleepy when she finally arrived around 4:15am. We crawled into bed and talked some so I probably didn't get to sleep until 4:45 or so.

It's about 8:30 on a Saturday morning. She's staring at me. Sure, we both always wake up before then for work, but it's Saturday and we were up late so I'm sleeping in...and she's awake. She lets me sleep for another half an hour before staring at me again. She's hungry. Okay, so we'll go get breakfast. I'm sleepy and sluggish, so it takes me a while to get moving, but finally I'm ready. Having decided the night before to go to the Renaissance Festival to meet some noders, I'm wearing a cheap Frederick's of Hollywood corset, jeans, and velvet shoes with pointy toes and big heels. I'm sure all the people at IHOP loved it, especially when I had to sit funny and kept checking to see if anything was slipping into view.

We went home and I did a couple of quick chores before leaving. MapQuest said it was 66 minutes from my door to 1861 Crownsville Road; we were supposed to be there at noon and I left at 11:00 on the dot. It must have been a perfect day for kayaking: I followed someone with a Wave Sport on top of his car and was utterly unsurprised when he got off the Beltway at Great Falls, later I saw a car with what looked like two flatwater kayaks strapped to the roof upside-down. If I hadn't been going to the Renaissance Festival, I'd have gone kayaking too. But I had to stop thinking about that quickly, because just after 270 merged with the Beltway there was a sudden slowdown. Perhaps that's understating it: we were stopped. I had known about the construction but had never seen traffic so heavy, I suppose everybody wanted to enjoy the good weather. I had picked a good lane that was moving along at an average of about seven miles per hour, though of course everyone was cutting in and out of various lanes. (Why do they do that? That makes traffic move even more slowly. Everyone would go faster if they stayed in their own lane.) After about three agonizing miles of this, I broke free and brought my girlfriend's little Saturn up to about 80mph. We stayed there for a while, and finally I made it onto Route 50 where we kept to the speed limit, going about 65mph. I took the exit for Route 3, got briefly confused, and finally made it onto Route 450 around 11:45am. I obediently waited at a traffic light and figured that with under seven miles to go, I'd be just a few minutes late. Wrong! I had forgotten that the main road used to access the festival is one very curvy lane in each direction. We crept along for those six-point-five miles at - once again - an average of seven miles per hour.

Finally, at almost 1:00pm, I found a parking space - ignored where it was - and went racing for the ticket booths. Perhaps "racing" is a bad word for it; the grass and dirt were slippery and so I had to control my pace. I saw a line and got into it, but quickly realized that was the queue for the bathrooms and moved on. A "Cash Only" booth opened up right away, so I gave the girl my $15 and took my ticket to the entrance. I collect ticket stubs, so I was dismayed when she dropped the whole ticket into the bin, but I had more pressing matters to attend to. Occasionally consulting the skimpy hand-drawn map, I stumbled through the mulch and gravel until I finally came upon the White Head Tavern - or was it the White Hart? I'm still not sure which - around 1:15pm. I stared blankly at the crowd before finally spotting a pretty girl holding drumsticks - aha! No, she said, she wasn't drummergrrl, but she was standing in for her. The boy with her - whose hair was blue-green - introduced both of them, but I completely missed their names (they turned out to be dihydrogen monoxide and Thuper Ranger). In fact I missed a bunch of names, only hearing part of each...I figured I'd just check the list of attendees later and match up what I could. Brian Feldman appeared quickly, and then everyone else showed up: drummergrrl in garb with spiky things, Toxick in his Curious George t-shirt, Deadbolt and Golem. MizerieRose (with Manic Panic hot pink hair) came up from another direction, and sleeping wolf and his wife were on her heels.

To be honest, I don't remember much of the conversation that followed. It was geeky, and of course we discussed Everything2, noders not present, and at one point Brian Feldman took out his Palm VIIx and tried connecting to E2 - we teased him about it, but I would have been suitably impressed if it had worked. Finally, thirsty and tired of standing still, I stumbled over to a drink stand. I got a Diet Pepsi and gave my dollar to the girl (who had said "can I help thee?" when I walked up - I felt odd asking for soda), then began stumbling back to the group. I spotted bright pink hair next to me, and then embarrassed myself by having to ask the girl if she was, in fact, MizerieRose. Of course she was, and we started talking about how to make breasts give milk, a node we'd both contributed to. Her reaction was "oh that was you!" and from there we began talking. She invited me to walk around the festival with her, so we began checking out the clothing and trinkets for sale. I got chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick, and we talked a lot. At one point she commented that she liked the naked chick on the back of a dyke's shirt. For some reason the woman - who was followed by a couple of others - led us to stand in line behind her for beer. Okay, we were now part of a large group of lesbians in a line for beer. After whispering to each other about this for a few minutes, we decided the leading lady had already had some beer of her own, and as we were both under 21 we slipped away. After MizerieRose purchased a little brass rose we headed back to the group, where sphere777 had turned up along with a few other people who apparently weren't noders.

I didn't walk around much after that, just stayed at the Tavern, looked at the pretty ladies walking by, inhaled too much cigarette smoke, and shouted over the live music. About three and a half hours after I arrived, a table finally opened up and we were able to sit together for the first time - a great relief to me in my terrible shoes. Not long after that three of us whipped 'em out and beamed a few programs back and forth, much to the amusement and horror of dihydrogen monoxide. I finally decided that I had to leave, so I could go home and get dinner with my girlfriend.

I crept painfully toward the massive parking lot, only to realize that I had no idea where the car was. I called my girlfriend on her cell phone and told her I'd be on my way home as soon as I found the car; she suggested pressing the panic button on the keychain. I finally decided to try tapping the unlock button once and then the lock button twice to make the horn beep briefly - and then I jumped back, startled, because the car was a couple of feet away, right in front of me and I hadn't even seen it! I pulled off my shoes (why on earth did I leave them on for the drive there?) and finally got the car moving, only to hit some mild traffic on the way back out. Once I reached Route 3, though, everything was smooth sailing, even on most of the Beltway. My girlfriend hadn't been spending the day asleep, as she'd claimed she would, so after she finished tidying and after I looked up the names I hadn't heard we crawled into bed.

Sorry, that was longer than I expected! It was just that much fun. Please forgive my shifting tenses.

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