Saturday, January 10, 2004

When I was out with John last night, we got to talking about past relationships. He was in a relationship with a woman for 9 years. The first 4 were on and off -- she'd want to date someone else for a while, and then she'd come back to him. Then, in the 4th or 5th year, it was like there was a switch or something -- all of a sudden she was content to be with him, didn't leave him or cheat on him anymore, and they were happy together. Then, 8 years into the relationship, they moved into an apartment together in New York and things went downhill. They found they just couldn't live together. After 9 months they mutually agreed that things weren't working. They went on their separate ways.

John talked about being alone for the year after that. That's when he really got interested in music and started picking up guitar. He'd go to work, come home, play guitar for five hours, sleep, and then start it all again. He also became more introspective during that time and started really taking a good look at himself, at what motivates him, at what drives him, at all of his behaviors and root causes for those behaviors. All in all, it sounds like it was a real growing experience for him, and he came out the other end a stronger person. Changed for the better. I don't know what he was like before, but I like who he is now.

Brian, also, seems to have changed and grown tremendously through this last year without Jaimie. The more I talk to him these days, the more impressed I am. An amazing man.

Alone time -- "not a bad thing". It can provide such space and impetus for change, for self-improvement.

Why, then, is it so hard for me to be alone for even a few weeks? Why do I feel that, instead of growing for the better, I'm sliding backwards? I'm becoming more self-involved, treating friends less well, pushing people away. I'm carving out more room for myself within my own life, but then I just use that room to sit around and mope.
My behavior toward family and friends is not becoming when I am feeling lonely and self-involved. The worst part is that I can see how it's all spiraling downwards, but I can't bring myself to stop it. My pride, or my hurt, or my loneliness -- something gets in the way. I feel like I'm on a train that's running out of control; I can see how off course it is and how it's fated to crash, but I'm powerless to stop it.
Now Mary's mad at me, and I feel like she was the one being unkind to me in the first place. Great.
From the Birthday Calendar (which I found as a link off of Mary's-other-Alex's Live Journal):
Your bithday: 3/26/1978

You were born on a Sunday
under the astrological sign Aries.
Your Life path number* is 9.

The Julian calendar date* of your birth is 2443593.5.
The golden* number for 1978 is 3.
The epact* number for 1978 is 21.
The year 1978 was not a leap year.

As of 1/10/2004 10:26:36 AM CST

You are 25 years old.
You are 310 months old.
You are 1,345 weeks old.
You are 9,421 days old.
You are 226,114 hours old.
You are 13,566,866 minutes old.
You are 814,011,996 seconds old.
There are 76 days till your next birthday

and there are 350 days till Christmas 2004!

The moon's phase on the day you were
born was waning gibbous.

Moon's age (days): 17
Distance (Earth radii): 59.04
Percent Illumination 93.66%
Ecliptic latitude (degrees): 2.25
Ecliptic longitude (degrees): 208.17

* Terms:
Golden Number: A number showing the year of the lunar or Metonic cycle. It is reckoned from 1 to 19, and is so called from having formerly been written in the calendar in gold.
Epact Number: The moon's age at the beginning of the calendar year, or the number of days by which the last new moon has preceded the beginning of the year.
The Life Path Number: The Life Path is the sum of the birth date. This number represents who you are at birth and the native traits that you will carry with you through life. The most important number that will be discussed here is your Life Path number. The Life Path describes the nature of this journey through life.
Julian date: The number of days since noon 4713 BC January 1.
I don't know anything about Astrology. I'd never before heard of a "life path number". I don't know that I put much credence into it, but I think it might be interesting reading sometime.
I'm using Pine for my mail again for the first time in 8 years or so. I missed Pine.

I also miss the days when I used to connect to the Internet through a BBS. Back then I was always connected alongside a community of people, almost all of whom I knew. I'd learn how to do cool things by constantly checking to see what commands other people were using, and particularly watching the commands of the people who knew their $h\+. I'd figure stuff out by browsing into other people's home directories and checking out their config files, trying the same settings out on my own to see what they did. Whenever I found anything really cool, I'd make sure to write it down in my trusty yellow notebook which I always kept handy.

It's just me on this sad little box. Nobody to learn from, noone to inspire me.

Friday, January 09, 2004

I finished reading The Third Life of Grange Copeland tonight. It really touches on the human experience, on strong human emotion.

Do not expect to read this book and feel uplifted. I want, always, to believe the best of people. To look for redeeming qualities. To practice forgiveness above all things. This book challenges those notions. Can all acts be redeemed? Are some people beyond redemption? Can forgiveness be a downfall?

The book toys with the idea of degradation. It explores the depths to which people can bring one another down. Strong ideas, but difficult. It also explores the notions of worlds at war, of power inequities, part of a world dominating over the rest. It questions whether good can ever come of that.

Good book. Didn't always make me comfortable, but it made me think. Made me question myself. Worth reading, if you get a chance.
Just got done watching Rabbit-Proof Fence with Mary. A very powerful film.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

This woman's fiancee built a snow-making machine to transform her yard and give her a white Christmas. I read that and thought "Mary". I could totally see her Alex doing something like that for her, and she would love him forever for it.
Fun with Tinfoil! How come I can never think up great pranks like that?
Say the company you are contracting for has a strict policy on things like account sharing and giving out of passwords.

Then say that you are being explicitly told to violate this policy by your manager at this company. That manager is a full time employee of the company whose policy you are violating. Management at the compnay you work directly for are aware of this, as well, and are complicit. They expect that you will go along.

What do you do? Do you stop and throw a fuss? Do you just go along with it? What if you are concerned that making an issue of it could cost you your job, both at the company you are contracting for and at the company that directly employs you?

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

As I was walking my dog just now, an odd little man came up behind me and shouted something unintelligible. It might have been, "...doing the dog!", but I'm really not sure. Out of the corner of my eye, I noted a stream of liquid shooting out from his person.

"Oh no, he's not -" I thought to myself.

We were on Pine, one of the busier streets on Capitol Hill. Granted, it was dark and rainy out, but still, it's a city street with significant pedestrian and automobile traffic.

I turned to look. Sure enough, there was a brown penis hanging out. Er... not really hanging; it was pretty erect. But not so erect so as to keep him from peeing -- he was happily directing a stream of piss all over the sidewalk as he walked up next to me! I stopped in my tracks, looked around me, looked at my dog. Stood in disbelief.

I think he tucked his penis back into his pants, and then he continued on his merry way. Some other guy passed him coming the other way and stopped to ask me what breed Louie was -- hadn't even noticed the whole man-peeing-in-public-incident, even though he'd been walking toward us, not even half a block away, as it had happened.

It's a mad, mad world.
I will not get sick, I will not get sick, I will not get sick...
I'm doing the Andy-thang and brewing a cup of tea with two teabags.

One is "Orange Spice", to ward of the cold I feel coming on.

The other is "I Love Lemon", to soothe my throat and sinuses.

Hopefully it will taste yummy, as well, although I'm so sick of Bigelow tea (of any flavor) that I have little faith.
Snow in Seattle wouldn't be as bad if they would plow the streets or shovel the sidewalks. We shouldn't have to wait for it to melt off!

The whole "closing streets" thing is sort of crazy. Closing a street because it has snow and is on an incline, instead of plowing it? And the people who drive on those streets despite the closing are crazy, too. And then there are the street lights, half of which they have set to a blinking red. It's all one big safety hazard.

I'm glad I did not drive today. Walking in the city, especially coming down from Capitol Hill on the wet, snowy sidewalks with cars careening everywhere on the street beside me, is scary enough. I'd have to be mad to drive there right now.

Hopefully the snow, slush, and remaining ice will melt away while I'm at work today, since there seem to be no indications that they'll plow it away any time soon.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Everything's crazy outside.

I decided to take the bus home from work and leave my car in the parking garage. It was just as well -- Denny Way, the street that leads up to the hill I live on, was closed because of the snow. I would have had quite a time getting my car back to my apartment building.

As I was hiking up the hill, I passed an accident involving a city bus, a truck, and I'm not sure what else. The medics were still there trying to clean everything up.

A little further up the hill, more medics were working with someone lying against a streetpole. I'm not sure if they had slipped and fallen, or what. Anyhow, the person had a neck brace on, and the medics were trying to get them onto a stretcher and figure out how to safely move them. The ground was steep and slippery, providing them quite a challenge.

At the top of the hill was another accident, involving at least three cars. No medics there, but there were police.

And all over the hill were people sledding down, right in the middle of the street, on sleds, trays, and even on a futon mattress.


Seemed strangely appropriate. All the chaos outside. And then inside me is chaos, as well -- my emotions tonight have been up and down and all over the wall.
I hate everyone.
I made Jon's blog! 15 seconds of fame, and I'm going to savor them all.
I just called John ("Uncle John", of Rachel & Jaimes' house) and asked him if he'd like to hang out with me sometime. We've never hung out on our own before -- we've seen each other only in the company of Jaimes, Rachel, and any number of other people, or at Tango dances every now and again.

For those of you who don't know, this is a big deal for me. I don't just call people I don't know all that well, or ask them to hang out with me. I mean, once I get to know them and am certain that we have already settled on grounds for a friendship, I'm happy to call. But until then? It sounds like a conundrum; I don't call or ask people to hang out until we're friends, but then how do we ever actually get to be friends in the first place?

I'm not sure how it works. Maybe, since most of the people I am friends with now were swing dancers or were friends-of-friends, I had plenty of opportunity to get to know them as friends before actually having to face up to taking initiative and calling or looking to spend time together on our own. Or maybe my friends tend to be better at reaching out initially than I am -- Jaimes certainly falls into that bucket. Or maybe, without even thinking about it, I grab email addresses before phone numbers whenever I can so that I can deal with new people in a less intimidating medium?

Whatever the case, I called John, despite not having a settled history of friendship. We're going to hang out on Friday! I will also see him at Tango on Wednesday if I stay in town instead of going to Tacoma.

I am excited. I think shaking up my social life a little bit will help jump-start me out of this emotional slump I've been caught in. And John is interesting and fun to be around. Should be good times! Be happy for me, that I am being so brave.
I think I like Counterpunch.
I was browsing through the finalist ads for MoveOn.Org's "George Bush in 30 Seconds" ad competition just now. They brought to mind all sorts of things that I like not to think about, because they're just too depressing. In light of friendships, 2003 may have been a good year for me personally, but it's been a pretty stinky year in so many other ways.

I swear, if we re-elect G.W., I'm finding some way to move to Canada.
It brings me down when it seems as if people are being untruthful about their intentions.

If they want to blow me off, fine -- I'll find a way to deal with that. I just wish they wouldn't put on a big show about how they've really got my best interests in mind, as if they're actually trying to do right by me.
I hate the UI (or lack thereof). It wasn't too bad when the site was slimmer and there wasn't so much functionality, but now there's so much mess that even the simplest tasks get lost.

Alex says the problem is that there wasn't a UI team until recently. Now there is, and they're doing a rehaul of the entire site, and it should be better when that rolls out. Here's hoping.
Seattle Blizzard! My first!

I drove to work today. Sadly, I lost control of my car not even a block from my house. I was heading down the Olive St. hill to turn onto Bellevue, traveling at about 5 miles an hour and dutifully pumping my breaks, but I slid out anyway, into the middle of the intersection. I was lucky that nobody was approaching in the near lane, and the guy in the far lane was able to stop in time.

The rest of the drive was without incident. I don't think I ever drove more than 30 mph, and even that felt pretty fast much of the time. My average speed for the entire trip was probably 15 mph.

"Blizzard 2004" was the topic of conversation on the radio. KEXP was running a snow theme with all their songs this morning. It made me smile. The drive was enjoyable, at least, if long and tedious.

Anyhow, now I'm here, and I'm here safely.

The lot is pretty empty today. Not everyone is dumb enough to come in. I'm sure many of the folks taking the day off are salaried, though, so they can afford a day off better than I can. I'd take it off too, except that I'm freaking out about being able to pay for my upcoming wisdom tooth extractions and cannot afford another docked paycheck.

On the bright side, I actually got to park my car underground today. I think I might just leave it there tonight and bus home; it's a nicer spot in a snowstorm than my alleyway parking back at the apartment building.

Yay snow.

If we got a real, solid blizzard like this every year, I would be completely content in Seattle, I think. Driving is a mess, it's cold as hell, and even just stepping out to walk my dog is a pain in the butt right now, but I feel at home and I am happy.
Mary got up at 6:00 am to make waffles for her Alex and I. I'm so lucky to have such wonderful people surrounding me, always reaching out somehow to show they care.

I think that she and he have decided that I need taking care of right now, but honestly, I don't mind. The attention and affection does seem that much more special in the face of all the up and down going on right now in the rest of my life.

I'm so happy my Mar came to live out here! That, of all things, may be the lasting highlight for me of the year 2003.

Actually, now that I think about it, 2003 was a good year for amazing people becoming a part of my day to day life. It brought Mary out here, it brought Brian back as a friend and confidante, it brought Andrew, and it brought me Jaimes and Rachel. Not such a shabby year at all.
It's been an amazing roller coaster ride, Brian, but I think I'm almost at the point where I want, of my own accord, to get off and go on home. Even now I'm checking for my keys in my pocket and trying to remember where I parked my car.

Monday, January 05, 2004

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head, I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow

And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying
Are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It's a very, very
Mad World

- from Mad World as sung by Gary Jules (remade from the Tears for Fears song)
This song closes out Donnie Darko. I've had it stuck in my head ever since I watched the movie on Friday.

I was excited enough by the Friday showing that I've put the movie into my Netflix queue so that I can watch it again this week.

Anyhow, "Mad World" -- quite a poignant tune. Haunting, almost.
Wired News, a year ago, posted an article claiming that people are drawn to Macs because they resemble children and trigger a fostering instinct. It asserts that Macs have childlike features, like big-eyed characters in Japanese anime.

Bell-ringer or bunk? Does this mean that I am lacking some motherly instinct because I have never been drawn to a Mac myself?
Jon says that my blog "is composed of an army of tiny little entries, and every so often there's one that's big and Lieutenant-like". Such a colorful description! Makes my head swell. I like it.

So, here you go -- another little soldier to stand dutifully among the rest.
Check out the last panel in this FoxTrot comic -- it's a Snow-Minnesota! Jon says Manitoba, but he's wrong. Seriously. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I see the pattern in all the previous panels, but it looks like Minnesota! Minnesota is too awesome for it NOT to be Minnesota, patterns be damned.

I mean, uh... I guess maybe it looks like Manitoba. But that sucks. Minnesota woulda been so much cooler.
I inadvertently missed the deadline for returning my Christmas tree to IKEA.

I'm thinking now that it might be nice now to break it down and use it for a bonfire at Golden Gardens Park. Chris says it's a touch cold these days for a trip to the beach, even with a bonfire. I think we might be okay, though, if we all dressed up warmly and went during midday, when we'd be making the most of whatever warmth the sun had to offer.

And a bonfire! On the beach! I haven't had a bonfire in years. And I've never had a bonfire on the beach! It would be an exciting winter-time adventure.

Anyone up for a romp on the beach sometime in the next week or two? Bonfire! Excitement! Intrigue! How can you hold yourself back?
I was not excited about returning to work today. After having had a full week off, and then only working three days the following week, I was not jazzed about coming back to the daily grind of corporate America.

I started the day here with a cup of coffee made in one of the French Presses Mary gave me for Christmas, brewed from the grounds she gave me. Yum! The tasty coffee, along with thoughts of Mary and happy Christmas-time memories, made the morning seem a little brighter. I feel better now about being here.
I missed the bus by half a block again today. I hate that. I would have run the extra distance, except that I was at a busy intersection and the light wasn't going my way.

While I was waiting at the stop for the next bus, Adrianne's sister Kristin walked by and said hello. Small world.
Mary and her Alex are making me dinner tonight. I feel so special! It is a bright point to look forward to in this otherwise dim day.
You better leave your almanacs at home on the shelf, or the FBI might mistake you for a terrorist.
To those of you who worry; the reason I hadn't called the vet yet about Louie's condition is that we've been through this before (with a lot more vet interaction) and I am just following the course of action the vet has had me follow in the past. I will call her today, though, to check in, so you can all rest at ease. Thank you for all the concern and good-will; Louie feels very loved.
Good news; Louie has been keeping food down again. So far he's kept down three small servings of chicken broth and rice, spread over a decent period of time. I'm still monitoring him closely, though; we may need to make a vet run tomorrow, depending on how he's doing.

Poor sick dog.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

I follow several Iraqi blogs. If you ever have some spare time, check out the posts by Faiza on A Family in Baghdad. (Most are being translated into English, and the English translations are listed right underneath the original entries.) She's such an eloquent woman, and writes from the heart. Her posts touch me and make me think.

Her newer posts may not yet be translated, but dig into the archives and read a post or two that have been. I swear, it will be worth your while.
January 29 will be my blogiversary -- I will have been blogging for an entire year. Exciting!
My dog was sick to his stomach all of yesterday evening and last night. As I was mopping up his vomit this morning, it occurred to me that whenever I have kids it'll seem like nothing to take care of their stinky diapers and their spittle. I've seen it all already in the form of animal vomit and excrement, and I've become quite desensitized to dealing with it all.

Poor sick puppy. I am sad for him. I hadn't fed him yet today because I didn't want to further upset his stomach, so he hasn't eaten anything since yesterday. I just made him some fresh chicken broth and rice, but can't coax him into eating any of it. He just sits in the corner looking dejected and unhappy. Sad.
To be fair, I don't think I should try and pigeonhole my emotional experience into a single schema such as the 5 stages of grief, and I don't think that those five stages fully cover the depth and breadth or the complexity of my emotions. I think, rather, that the 5 stages are merely a convenient medium, allowing me to easily and quickly illustrate a rough sketch of my recent mental process. If you read the 5 stages of grief link, Article 8 - Beware the Five Stages of Grief is an interesting counterpoint that touches on some of what I'm trying to say here.
I've been thinking this morning about how the 5 stages of grief (adapted from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' book, "On Death and Dying") correspond to my feelings these last few weeks. Denial, Anger/Resentment, Bargaining, Depression -- all very familiar. I haven't traversed through them in any fliud order and I've revisited all of them more than once, but I have felt all these things so I think her stages of grief may apply to me to some degree.

The last two or three days, I've begun to notice a change. Every now and then, I start to feel acceptance. It's not that I don't feel any of the others anymore -- I still bounce back and forth quite a bit -- but I feel calmer, more serene, and it's like... it's almost like acceptance is a magnet and I can feel it subtly pulling me in. It's the strongest of all the stages, I think. I may not feel it all the time at first, but it will pull me back time and time again and eventually it will be where I settle and rest. I feel this as a promise that I can look forward to, even when fear pulls me again towards denial or depression or resentment.