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November 29, 2001
Change in the weather: Instead

Change in the weather: Instead of turning into winter, it's turning into Seattle.

My latest project didn't take long enough. Which of course means that I'm done. Yay! I finally pinned down the regular expressions and got the random quote thing to work on the home page. So now there's a process that runs every twelve hours which reads my latest post, splits it into sentences, creates a javascript function to pick one at random, and writes it into my home page. Pretty nifty. It's my favorite recent accomplishment, geek-wise.

My favorite recent license plate spotted is Juan234. Get it? Ha ha ha.

The whole concept of the gay bar sometimes strikes me as a bit odd. How much different is that then a black bar, or a white bar? Of course it's not like it's an enforced rule, it's just a clientele. But it's certainly weird to have slides of men taking showers projected on the walls and on tiny plasma screens all over the place. I've been to lots of "straight" bars, and there's usually no porn. I'm sure I'd remember it if there was. My favorite activity was watching how uncomfortable it made some of the straight guys who were there. At least 2 or 3 left explicitly citing that as the reason. And all the waiters stroking each other when they passed. Good stuff.

The bathroom was built with covert handjobs in mind, undoubtedly more. As far as I could see there were only stalls (interesting considering the customers are almost exclusively male) and very spacious. Full length doors for complete privacy, and even the soothing sound of bubbles and other water noises from an in-wall speaker. Maybe I should pay this much attention to my sexual life. I'll decorate my apartment with porn, create a super sexy bathroom, deep red lights everywhere, lots of curtains, everyone will be horny all the time.

Anyway, I'm home now in my temporarily roommate free pad. It seems that both of my roommates are out of town for the weekend, so I'm looking forward to lots of hanging around the house, playing music loudly, watching movies, and cooking eggs naked. What could be better?

November 26, 2001
Ach ach ach.. Home at

Ach ach ach.. Home at last, the urge to pee becoming dangerously urgent as I fumble with the keys, but only an hour and a half to get done what I wanted to get done before venturing out once more. New York, it's moving. I'll probably only get to this.

Shuffle the tunes, off we go.

I'll Take You There

Thanksgiving maybe needs more. I had a great time in Baltimore, it was relatively quiet and peaceful and I caught up on a lot of sleep. Just what I wanted. It's ironic that I find peace and quiet in holidays with kids and distant relatives and not so-relatives. But the escape from my daily routine, and more importantly the inner life that goes with it, is welcomed.

Skip - Indigo Girls to Dylan

Wednesday afternoon I left work early to make it to Linden NJ in plenty of time to meet Dad. Hiking Route 9 in Linden, I found the airstrip with no trouble, but failed to find the door. As I circled the barbed perimeter for 45 minutes, it occured to me that they don't design these things with pedestrians in mind. I watched the plane land, confirmed the tail number, and cursed the dern fog. Finally I got Dad on the cell phone and he spotted me, and asked the man where the entrance was. A good 30 minute walk. Assured that they wouldn't call the cops or shoot at me, I climbed over the fence. No rips.

I'm Only Sleeping

The flight was beautiful. We flew right over the teeming highways, comfortable and speedy in our warm cabin, and with a gorgeous sunset lazily extended by the altitude. Had a good laugh at the Air France pilots accent. It made us think of Mom.

Skip - Cash, Bowie, land on Young

Cut it short. Last couple days. Saturday was nice, slept late, hung out with Mom and Dad all day. Dad got a new laptop, I helped him set it up. We went to dinner, pitcher of Sangria, then to see Spy Game. It was a nice day, it's great to spend some time with just the two of them, they're wonderful, inspiring people.


I took Amtrak's new super fast train back from Baltimore yesterday. Acela. Sounds Swedish. The train was lovely, comfortable and fast. But it occured to me that what makes train rides often irritating isn't the comfort of the train, it's the other people. And believe it or not, they have the nerve to allow other people to sit near me, even in Business Class. So I still have to deal with fashion conversation ahead, mother and two kids not doing their homework beside, and kicking from behind. It seems I'll need my own train.

Saint Louis Blues

The best picture I got this weekend, not surprisingly it's of Lauren.

Free Fallin'

That's all the time I have for this for now. I go...


November 24, 2001
Baltimore. Well, Owings Mills, really.

Well, Owings Mills, really. It's not the same thing. Last night was Baltimore, this is Owings Mills. Oh, last night was partially a living hell too, ask me why. It's the coughing, the coughing, the coughing. I always forget my attacks of the throat tickle cough at the end of a cold. It's bittersweet, because I know it signals the last few days of my illness, but I sure do have to pay for it. These are the thoughts of a coughing man at 4:45am: Inhaling water seems like it might help, how do you do one of those tracheotomies again? Is this pen big enough? What if I bang my head on the headboard enough to knock myself out? Forget the pen, I have a Leatherman. It's still sort of early on the west coast, who can I bring into my misery?

Sitting here while my mom plays Bach on the piano behind me, it sort of feels like home. This house was never home to me, but it's becoming something like it. Not home really, but their home, and that has a hominess to it. The place where I get to spend time with my niece and nephew too. They're growing up so fast. Actual little people with ideas and jokes and snot. It's amazing.

Last night I spent a few hours at Jerry's with Susan, the only old friend I'll see on this trip, but enough. It's always great to catch up with Susan, to get a Susan perspective on things. It's wonderful to have people in my life who I don't see much, but who know me well and I'm very comfortable with. There's a perspective I can't get from myself or people who see me all the time.

Thanksgiving was fun, late but fun, and international. Four Frenchies (not counting mom), two Argentinians (not counting Dre and Faith) and the rest Americans and half-breeds. Enough people who didn't speak each other's languages to make it very interesting. The best thing to watch though, was Morgan and Antoine, both 4, neither understanding a word from the other, but playing all evening anyway. They argued, joked, decided the rules to pool, all without being able to understand each other's words at all.

I'm thankful for everything. Yes, even that.

November 20, 2001
Yeesh. Damn blogger just lost

Yeesh. Damn blogger just lost some of my stuff and I'm peeved. I guess eventually I had to learn the "write it in something else and copy and paste rule" for myself. I do that (did that) for the topic project, but for some reason don't for coredump.

Anyway, I went back and cleaned up this post from yesterday. It needed it, it was a bit scattered. I think I tightened it up a little, so if you read it already, go back and read it again. That's a direct order.

I've been running into this idea of categorical arguments quite a lot lately. I've been criticizing people for it, but it suddenly occurs to me that it may be the key to a certain kind of success. People who argue their points as if they are unarguable are probably the people who can get what they want. Maybe not.

Maybe opinions are just going out of style.

Yeah.. Bloggin' at work. These

Yeah.. Bloggin' at work. These things happen.

The big news (it's not really that big) is that Team Bar won all three of our volleyball games last night. Woo! We played pretty well, worked hard, and won three very competitive games. It's amazing how much more fun winning is than losing. I felt like I played pretty well, though my passing still needs much work. Sometimes they're right on, but when they're off, they're way off. Then I get all psyched out and I can't pass ever again. Ever. The whole team played really well, it was working.

Lessee.. Oh, I added that sidebar thing what lists the books I'm reading, have read, or will read. I worked out how to make it a server side include, so it's easy to update, though it meant changing this page's extension to .shtml. I set up a redirect though, so all your bookmarks and links (I know you have lots of them) should still work just fine.

Dad is going to fly up tomorrow and pick me up for Thanksgiving. I'm excited for the flight, and to be home and relax. It'll be great to be out of the big city into the smaller one, and just sit around and read, play the guitar, talk to my family. I'm looking forward to it. Though, it would be nice if they were in a slightly more interesting place than Owings Mills, MD, but you can't have everything. Somewhere in the mountains would be nice. Or by the seaside. I'm not picky.

November 18, 2001
Oh jeez. Again, I had

Oh jeez. Again, I had a million things running through my head today and this evening, but I've forgotten nearly all of them. Oh, life recorder, where art thou?

Went to see Waking Life with James today. It doesn't have much of a story, just a lot of people spouting armchair philosophy, the kind of stuff most of us talk about from time to time, but expressed relatively well. Most of it is the kind of stuff that seems really interesting to me at first, but then when you stop and think about it, it starts to seem more and more obvious, and often cliché. Interesting questions on the one hand, and completely uninteresting on the other. James and I partially talked about some of it afterwards, but it;s probably best that we didn't have a full blown discussion. We'd already had a talk about the future of technology on the train, and there's only so many of those I can take in a day. Especially a Sunday. I found myselt alternately bored and interested during the movie, certainly I haven't seen that many people walk out of a movie before the end since King Ralph. It had some good moments, but in the end I think most of the questions being explored are in some way meaningless. Sure, we could all be in a dream, but who cares? We are nothing, dreams are nothing, movies less. It's not bad, but it's incidental, not integral.

It's like the secret to good nicknames (SixGig) and band names, also captured by The Simpsons so well in the B-harps episode: Something that is funny (or compelling, in the case of the ideas in the movie) the first time you hear it, but gets less and less funny each subsequent time. That's how I felt about a lot of the philosophy in the movie; it seems very interesting on the surface, but when you start to scratch at it, you quickly realize there's not much to it. See? A perfect reprisentation of being stoned; you think you've discovered the answers to life's biggest questions, but then you forget what you were talking about 5 minutes later.

One of the thoughts I managed to remember occured while a professor-type character was talking about evolution. He was explaining it as an accelerating force, that it will, and does, accelerate quickly to the point at which we'll see it's results in our lifetimes, where the evolution of machines and people will not be distinguishable, the idea of a "neo-human" who will have none of the concerns that we spend most of our lives dealing with, but will be in control of his environment almost completely. It all sounded reasonable, in a sense, if a bit frightening, but I was struck by how categorically it was argued. Not as a theory, but as a kind of truth. It got me to thinking about the and whether it exists already or is just potential. This again ties to the idea Dave takes from Conversations With God about how all things; all time, all space, all ideas, everything, exist as a single thing, that the stretched out and linear nature of our perception is just that, perception. The reality is that all things are happening, have happened, will happen. There is no distinction except in the point of view of the observer. There's the idea that déjà vu and stuff like that are glimpses beyond the veil so to speak, little holes in the linear curtain.

Anyway, this guy is on about compressed evolution, and I'm thinking that this, and any other prognostication on the details of the future, is so strange to me. James and I have these talks, where he's describing what will happen, with a fairly high degree of inevitability, and I'm always taking the "who's to say" side, to oversimplify it. Theories of the future that are well thought out and rational seem to me like fine examples of possible futures, but it's only a deduction of what could happen. Even if the future does already exist, it can't be deduced. Possibly it can be seen by some people, or by everyone at some times, but I don't think it's subject to human logic. We can construct reasonable chains of events and even go about trying to make them happen, but I don't think we can ever rationally predict broad changes in the human experience, if there have ever been any.

It's like what's his name, that german guy, Werner or whatever, and uncertainty. Even when we try to examine if our predictions have been borne out, we're altering the state of things. The more we look, the less we can see.

I'm late for brunch. Just

I'm late for brunch.

Just finished reading Black Hawk Down. A truly amazing book, like nothing I've ever read before. It's hard to get my mind around the horrors depicted in it. Even during battle, a prominent description is of soldiers wondering "Is this real?", and even more so for someone like me to read about it. How is it that things like that actually happen in the world. The diversity of human experience is stunning, and then at the same time, there must be some universality for me to even be able to read it and feel anything. Even in the most extremely dangerous circumstances imaginable, these guys were still quoting The Jerk. I would recommend this book to anyone. It's gut-wrenching, but important.

I wound up awake until 5am last night. I was in bed reading at about 4:30, having finally finished screwing around on the computer (for a couple of hours anyway) and watching Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon intermittently. Naturally I thought it wise to start the "Making Of" documentary on the DVD at about 3:45. Anyway, in bed at 4:30 I suddenly realized that I was still awake at the peak time to view the Leonid Meteor Shower, supposed to be extremely active this year. I bundled up and went up on the roof for about 10 minutes, during which I saw at least 25 meteors. And this is in Brooklyn, with so much light pollution I could easily read outside on a moonless night. I can't imagine how spectacular it must have been from a better spot, but it was still a very nice way to end the night; awe-inspiring, humbling, beautiful.

There was a car accident

There was a car accident outside of my apartment today, but everyone was okay. No, wiat, that's not my story. See, I've gotten so lazy with poor coredump that I'm not even telling my own stories anymore. Just trying to fill the space with something, anything. Oh, for the love of..

It's always hard to think of a good opening.

What news? I'm still sick and it's pissing me off. This isn't usual for me, normally I get sick, and then get better. This time I'm not getting better, just shifting symptoms. Perhaps I should go to the doctor. Get them to x-ray my finger too. Yes, so, sick. Again, the details of the past 5 days seem too mundane to repeat. On Thursday we played volleyball, and I played like a blind woodsman. It was as if I'd never seen a volleyball before. I'm looking forward to our clinic, and maybe some more practice. It becomes a drag after a while to lose all the time. The winning is not where all the fun comes from, but it sure helps to keep your spirits up.

The problem with the digital camera is the diligence it takes to keep your photos organized. I had read pundits (wags too) decry digital photography as still too complex due to this fact, but never understood what the big deal was until I got one for myself. The main issue is that when you're keeping your photographs only in digital form, you have to be careful how and where you store them. They have to have filenames that make sense and keep them organized or it's just one big heaving steaming mess. Hundreds and hundreds of files with names like 101-0112_IMG.JPG filling up endless folders with names like "dave's house - october". It quickly becomes unmanageable. So you have to always be on top of it. You need a good naming convention and a good folder system. And of course, if you want to put your photos on the web or email them, you have to convert them to a smaller size and lower resolution. So then you have two copies of at least all of your shared photos. It's a morass.

I'm not sure how it would be better. The renaming and conversion is the real pain in the ass. If we could avoid that, we'd be in pretty good shape. I've written some scripts that make it a lot eaier, but I still have to type in hundreds of filenames and think of a descriptive way to name them. Maybe I should get some voice recognition software. Ha.

Okay, end rant.

--time passes--
--a lot of time--

For the last 3 hours or so, I've been doing just what I described above. Renaming files, trying to get them organized. And whenever I do that, I of course think of refinements I can make to the renaming script to make things easier and end up coding for hours. At this point, though, I suspect I may have taken a turn back towards ridiculously complex. At a minimum, I've developed a system that I'm fairly sure would be impossible to explain to anyone. Certainly no one would want to hear about it.

Ah, one more thing. Years ago when I quit smoking, I made a little javascript thingie that kept track of how long it had been since I'd smoked. It was a nice motivational tool, keeping a precise tally made it hard to fuck up, and I've talked it up to several of my firends who've tried to quit in the past couple of years. Rich wanted me to make him one, a taskulater-minder--ater. It was far too nasty to fix up and change the javascript, so last week I rewrote it in perl and made it more flexible and available for anyone to use. I haven't gotten around to polishing up the look of it, or adding any explanation, but it works. Check it out, it's The Quitter.

First 24 hours of sleep-catching-up-opportunity-week officially wasted. 7 to go.

November 12, 2001
Indeed. The infrequency of my


The infrequency of my postings here ain't right. It's about once a week these days, and I'd like it to be more than that. I guess I get a little bored of it, and as I've narrowed the focus, I find I have less to say. Maybe I'll just do movie reviews. Or reviews of movie audiences. Describe the weather: It was cold but beautiful today. I went on a nice walk through Park Slope, Flatbush, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Hieghts and then over the bridge to Manhattan. This city is absolutely stunning sometimes. It can be really breathtaking. I love the winter, when the air is crisp and cold and clean. The word 'bracing' always seems particularly evocative on days like today.

The week behind: Umm.. Not much to report. Luke hurt his foot playing volleyball, which sucks, but I really enjoyed that game and felt like I played fairly well. It would have been nice to win that last game though, we had it all going our way, but we just ran out of gas. Seems like Luke might be able to get back in this season, and we're hoping. He's our rock.

Friday night I got 120% drunk at Ilio's birthday party, Saturday had dim-sum and bowled.

Tonight I had a bit of a confrontation with Joel. The issue has been weighing heavily on me lately, and it found some release tonight, though I'm not sure to who's benefit. Difficult doesn't begin to describe it.

I'm incredibly happy that Dave is here. It's been years since we've been around each other consistently, and it's wonderful. We've had two multi-hour discussions in the past week and both have been enormously helpful to me. He offers me a brilliant and often much needed perspective, quite different from my own in certain ways and sometimes exactly the piece of the puzzle I've been missing. He has a selfless and generous way about him that is decidedly rare. He brought with him a coterie of other generous, funny, talented, and genuinely kind people that I'm happy to spend time with and get to know as well. Add to them the wonderful friends I have at work, a handful of Alaskans, at least one Iowan and a kidney bean, and I'm a pretty lucky sap. Definitely some kind of a sap.

A tired sap.

November 6, 2001
Ah, core dump. Like an

Ah, core dump. Like an old friend. An old, demanding, sort of paranoia inspiring, getting more complicated everyday with no clear sign of a reason why, friend. Ah.

Where was I..

The tiny details of the past week are not particularly forthcoming. Probably a good thing. It's generally the same story: home, work, volleyball, beer. Often in that order. Sometimes sleep. Oh, and eating, lots of eating. Can't get enough of the food. Bits of reading from time to time, a little walking and talking, some socializin', some philah-so-phizin', the occasional snack. And don't forget buying stuff, you gotta have the stuff, and the stuff that goes inside the stuff. Cables for the stuff. Batteries.

I went to see Monsters, Inc this evening. I recently remembered how much I like going to the movies by myself. It's great to be able to see any movie you want, without having to reach a consensus. Don't get me wrong, it's nice the other way too, but every now and then, it's nice to go it solo. Goes for sex, too.

Upon remembering my feelings about going to the movies by myself, I was promptly reminded of why I don't like going to the movies at all much anymore: The people. Now, I like people and all, usually, okay, sometimes, but I think they've all gone crazy. It's hard to imagine the ravings of a mind that would talk loudly in a movie theater. I know we tend to focus on the people who walk around muttering about claw hammers and bleu cheese and Eva Gabor when we think of crazy people, but those people are often on the right track. It's the people that can sit there and just talk to the screen, as if the images of the actors can hear them, and actually give these characters advice. They're nuts, and we just sit there right next to them shaking our heads and doing nothing.

While I'm on a roll, I'll go on to say that terrorists are one thing, but it's the movie theater talkers and their ilk who are the real threat to our civilization. Their ilk would include: the cashier who talks on the phone while "helping" you, the guy on the subway who defiantly keeps his legs spread 2 inches wider than his seat moldings would indicate, the happy-tune cubicle whistler, and Britney Spears. We're hiring Air Marshals and people to read our email and tap our phones; we should get some guys to hang out in movie theaters and nab the loonies who talk. Or have the admission ticket on a sliding scale: I knock off a dollar every time someone says something so clearly that I can detect their heritage from three rows away, three bucks for talking to the screen, at any volume, and I don't pay at all if the focus is messed up and the sound keeps cutting out. That would be more fair.

Oh, the movie was pretty good. It was sweet, clever, and entertaining. Go right ahead and see it, you have my blessing.

November 5, 2001
I haven't posted in a

I haven't posted in a long time. And now all I'm going to say is that my new name is Podo Bolger of Newbury.

How's that?