« November 2001 | Home | January 2002 »

December 28, 2001
I donít feel motivated to

I donít feel motivated to write at the moment, but I feel like Iíve slipped for too many days, have to catch up. So pardon my lack of savoir faire.

Itís funny that I donít feel like writing because Iíve been thinking about writing a lot lately. Thinking about it in theory of course. Thinking about what purpose it might serve in my life, the general opinion I have of my own writing, and my lack of motivation to do anything with any of it, or to really actually do it at all to any appreciable degree. Stuff like that.

Anyway, the life, as it currently stands:
Christmas at home was swell. It was at times very hectic, at other times peaceful. We squabbled a bit, a couple of minor fights. A tear or two may have been shed. But all in all, I think everyone was happy. My mom, as always, came up huge, taking on the whole holiday single-handedly. Everything was delicious, beautiful, it all worked out great.

On Christmas Eve, I went out with Olivier, Faith, the kids, Leen and Dad to see the trains at the fire station and the ďMiracle on 34th StĒ. The trains are a model train display that the fire station in our old neighborhood does every year. This used to be a tradition in Baltimore (possible elsewhere), and now the Fire Station on Glen Avenue and Cross Country Boulevard is the only one that still does it. Itís sort of cheesy and this year the trains werenít even working, but itís part of Christmas, a tradition.

The Miracle on 34th St isnít the movie, itís a block of 34th St in Hampden, a particularly interesting neighborhood, where all the residents get together every year and decorate their houses like you wouldnít believe. For a week around Christmas they subject themselves to people walking right up onto their porch, looking in their doors and windows, and generally creating great chaos on their block. Itís amazing. Picture.

On the way out to see these things, we witnessed a pretty bad car accident. Just as we were pulling up to a stop sign, a big pick up truck pulled into oncoming traffic and was hit in the side. The truck did a 360 as my dad got ready to keep driving. I told him to stop as I noticed that there was no one driving the pick up, the driver must have been knocked down and was probably unconscious. The truck was leaking lots of fluids out of the front too. Leen and I ran over to the truck just as the driver was crawling out. He said, ďI thought you had a stop sign, man.Ē I told him it wasnít me he had hit, it was the lady in the car pulled off to the side. We helped him stumble to the curb, and I went over to the other car, as I called 911. The people in that car seemed fine, there was a little girl in the back seat with only a lap belt, and she said her stomach hurt and she was crying. The mother was shaken up but fine.

It turned out the kid driving the truckís name was Anthony; Carolyn learned this when she called his father to tell him what had happened. We stayed with him, trying not to move him too much, until the ambulance and all the police came. They eventually decided to call a helicopter to fly him to shock trauma, because he was giving ďgoofyĒ answers in the ambulance, and they were afraid he might have some head injury. I gave a statement and all my various phone numbers to the police and we went on our way.

And thatís that story. It was scary to see, and hopefully the kid will be all right. Driving around Baltimore over vacations reminds me how dangerous it is. It seems like people are becoming worse and worse drivers year by year. So much pent up frustration and anger, increasing all the time as our society becomes less and less personal and caring, and people get in their cars where they feel invulnerable and they drive like maniacs. I joked to Leen on our way back to Brooklyn on Wednesday that they should put me in charge of driver licensing. Iíd make the test so damn hard, there would be no way to pass it without being an excellent driver. Another idea: install a system that ties your horn to a mild electric shock, so you can still use it all you want, but youíll pay for it, so youíd better be sure you really want to. The same system could be used to punish people who change lanes without signaling, drive slowly in the left lane, and tailgate.

Another Christmas gone, another year drawing to a close. Where does this year rank among others? Iíve been hearing talk of 2001 being a particularly bad year for many people, some calling it the worst year in recent memory for many reasons. I guess chief among them is the World Trade Center attacks, and the ensuing bomb-happy fall. I donít know if I feel it was better or worse than others. Some things better, some worse, some the same. It was a year.

December 23, 2001
Baltimore. It feels like I

Baltimore. It feels like I was just here. It was only a few weeks ago.

Dad flew up to bring me down again, the flight was very pleasant. I fell asleep. He did the whole thing wearing "Foggles", which are glasses that block your view of anything above the instrument panel and to the sides. The idea is to simulate what it's like to fly in the clouds, and he's training to get his instrument rating. It was interesting to fly IFR (Instrument Flight Rules), where control towers follow your path exactly the whole way and direct you to fly in different "skyways" to reach your destination. This is how pilots fly when they can't see, there's someone on the ground telling them exactly where to go. It made me think about doing some more pilot training one of these days. I have to get my glasses first and make sure I could pass the medical. Dad's instructor offered to teach me this summer, but unfortunately if I'm not working I'm planning on being on the road. Selling soap.

Seeing old friends is one of my favorite things about the holidays. There are only a few people who I see anymore, but they're very important people to me. Last night met up with Susan, Laurel, Chris and Erik at Jerry's. As it was at Thanksgiving with Susan, it's wonderful to hang out with people I've known for so long. They know the arc of my life, and I know theirs. We aren't only looking at this small window of the present and recent past, we know the whole history. Not just know it, but we've lived it together. It's a perspective on myself and life that I'm very lucky to have. Of course I value my new friends enormously also. The beauty of those relationships is looking forward to them becoming like the other ones. We'll never have known each other all of our lives, of course, but we can look forward to knowing each other for the rest of it to come.

We talked about our lives, caught each other up, then the conversation drifted to our relationships, the nature of love, many interesting questions. Speaking of, I started reading Conversations With God yesterday, and I think that will be very interesting. I'm going to try hard to get over my reflexive aversion to that particular word and read it for the ideas. So far I haven't found any great revelations, but I think it will be interesting to dig through an attempt to distill the great questions of life in one volume. Some of it is trite or cliché perhaps, but as often is the case with things trite or cliché, there's probably a lot of truth to be found there.

So, I'm knocking Notes From the Hyena's Belly out of the What I'm Reading Now spot, it just wasn't working for me. I hadn't read a word in weeks.

December 20, 2001
And another thing.. I'm sick.

And another thing.. I'm sick. I've been sick for months, but I'm on a high cycle again. I think I have Lupus. Or the plague. Something that won't won't won't go away. It might have to do with my average, generously, of 5 hours of sleep for the past 3 months or so. My body is rebelling, as it should. I had a lot of juice today, and holy crap I just got two IMs at the exact same time. Isn't that weird?

No, it's not that weird.

The Fab Faux show last night was phenomenal. Those guys kick ass. Generally you wouldn't say all that much about a "cover" band, but gooooooooooodaamn. The second set had me head-banging and swaying and nearly in tears. Ah, yes, how I love good live music. When it doesn't hit me, I can get very restless and bored, but when it's right, fahgetaboutit.

There were interesting and funny things, lots of them. Erik was there, Dave and Cass and Erica, Luke and James and Patti and Liz and me. A great group, we had a blast. There were, as always, freaky people in the crowd that grabbed my attention when the music didn't. Always the guy in front of me who has no sense of common decency. The beautiful thing about music, though, is that when it stirs the soul, all of that fades away. I can have a guy backing into me, pointing at his friends over my shoulder, and generally acting like a big fat jerk, and I don't care. I just want to rock.

Speaking of.. It made me want to be in a band. I don't care if it's a bad band. I just want to make loud noises on a stage. I'm sure we could put together something that sounded like music. Even if we didn't, to hell with it, it would be so much fun. Either that or soap on a road. Or both.

Oh, and apparently I accepted a new job today, as a client-side developer. How odd. Things that seem like they're supposed to be major events in my life often don't seem important at all to me. I've been doing QA for 2 and a half years, now I'll do something else. And so it goes.

December 17, 2001
I've been trying to use

I've been trying to use the phrase "it's the bunk" in conversation for a while, in the guise of a wise-cracking reporter from the 50's (stolen from the Coen brothers), but it's not catching on. I don't think anyone even notices.

So... Ah, the weekend. The visit with my parents was great. I was very happy that they got to meet so many of my good friends, it was starting to seem weird that I was always talking about these people, and they had never met any of them. I'm used to my parents knowing my friends, since most of my close friends are (were) people I've known for years and years. But now, in this working-adult kinda world I'm bluffing my way through, you don't tend to run into parents quite as much. So it was great to get them up here to meet the tribe. We included them in a few rituals; brunch at Chelsea Commons, singing and playing guitar huddled around a computer monitor, and video game consoles. They missed volleyball and layoff parties, but I think they got a good sampling. We also had dim-sum, went to ground zero, and saw a Broadway show. Even did a little Christmas shopping.

For many people, a weekend as described above with one's parents would be a nightmare, but it wasn't; it was fun. Luke and I were talking about how lucky we are in that respect, and that it sometimes seems comparatively rare. I don't know what I'd do without it.

Guitar is going well. I'm playing almost every day, at least for a few minutes, and learning new songs all the time. Halle-freakin-luja, I've finally begun to break away from Ripple, Lost Highway, and that damned tiny intro to that Yes song. And I owe it all to my purty new guitar. I call her string face.

So I'm creating a new section of my site for storing the tabs, chords and lyrics to the songs I'm working on. Et voilà.

December 14, 2001
It's not quite midnight yet.

It's not quite midnight yet. I'm really going to try to get to bed before 1. I'm trying to be realistic here, if I say I'll be in bed by 12, I'm just setting myself up for disappointment.

Got a note from my ISP yesterday informing me that my IP address has changed. So I had to update the DNS entry for slapnose.com, meaning it may not be available for a time until the change propogates. I guess it shouldn't take very long. I can only hope that my legions of dedicated readers can hang on for a few hours. Of course, this is ridiculous since I'm writing this on my site, so if it's read, it's up. I always worry a little when I have to change networking settings on my router, because I don't really know what I'm doing. Seems to have worked.

Lately I'm finding this kind of technical talk really boring. I was thinking today about how I was going to add some JavaScript to my framed pages so that they'll check if they're inside a framset and redirect if they're not. This is a huge problem, because sometimes old poofy froofys come up in my search results, and get broken out of the frameset, stranding the page. Hangin' it out to dry, all unlinked and naked. But the sad part isn't the poor little orphaned page, it's that I've spent 5 minutes writing about it.

I didn't get around to that tonight, and I'm sincerely hoping that I won't. One little thing like that and before you know it it's 3:30 in the morning. I did do this tonight, though. First stab at the NimprovYC intro movie. I want to start working on that site, it won't be hard at all, and it would be cool to have a site out there that I built for someone else.

I'm trying to be better about linking my posts. I often just get lazy or forget to go back and link up some of the relevant stuff. It's easy to get carried away with that though, and just start linking all kinds of random crap.

December 13, 2001
What day is it? I

What day is it?

I played around a little with Greymatter the other day, creating a new version of coredump, cleverly dubbed coredump2, which runs on greymatter. My first goal is to make it look and work just like the current version, then I'll turn the mother out. Check it out. I mean it.

An article by a British reporter who was brutally attacked by Afghani refugees in Pakistan. It's amazing how he keeps his attackers' perspective in mind. It relates well to this amazing article from 1995 about a brutal attack in New Haven, Connecticut. Both of these are great examples of something that came to my mind often in the weeks after September 11; how different and often completely opposed visceral reactions and reasoned responses can be. The problem is that as a society/culture/country/world, we seem to be much more interested in reactionary, emotional lashing out than we are in reasoned discourse.

That's it. No snappy ending.

December 11, 2001
Ah, to blog, perchance to

Ah, to blog, perchance to dream.

80% original content.

Well, last night's entry unsatisfying. Can't capture the importance of getting away for a few days. It was meaningful, deep, eye-opening. Again one of those things that I try to keep in mind, try not to let return home be a return to bad habits. Remeber what I have learned, and live it. It's not that it was so significant in and of itself, but the quiet, the peacefulness, the time to reflect; they all give me the chance to rediscover myself. To pass right through, but to look around while doing it. Oh yeah, that's where I left my kidneys.

My cellphone's charging. It's been dead for two days, and I haven't missed it.

I met with Denyse this evening for the first time since we broke up. I was a bit nervous, but I think it went well. It seems she thought I was angry, or frustrated and that I didn't really say anything, but I felt like I did. It's okay not to have an answer for everything, and I don't. Why didn't it work out? It didn't. Anyway, in the end, I'm glad we got together, and I think maybe we can salvage a friendship in time.

Pretend I'm a Cancer.. "It is perfectly acceptable to just admit to yourself and others these simple words, "I don't know." You will be amazed at the burden that will be lifted from you, dear Cancer. Don't think that you always have to come up with an answer to something. In fact, trying to make up an answer when there really isn't one at all will only do more harm than good. Now that you have accepted that you don't have the answers, the possibilities are infinite."

I'm still pondering my next move at work, had a meeting with smorgan today which ellicited some new possibilities. I'm trying hard not to make a decision that I'll regret, and not to make a change simply for change's sake. It should be a change I care about. Say, to drive around the country selling soap, that would be meaningful. I'd tell you all about it through my website, www.soaponaroad.com.

I can't find this anywhere, but I'll take a friend's word that it's by Nikki Blair

A smile comes to my lips
and a tear to my mind's eye
when I hear the simple phrase that
lucky few believe

they tell me that my home is
where my heart is ---
they say to plant roots there
and bloom

But they can't see
the hundred different shades
of light and dark
that summons me back
to a hundred different homes

They can't hear the hundred
strains of music;
can't sense the hundred scents
my memory has stored

For My Heart is in all these ---
and in the faces of the people I have loved
and in the familiar views: the skylines and the forests
and in the snapshots
beaming all the smiles and weeping all the tears

My Heart is
in the many pages of my life
And so My Homes are there

Oh shitballs. I'm starving and there's not a thing to eat. Not a single kidney bean or nuthin. I guess I go to bed hungry.

quote of the week:
"They were asleep, to hell with 'em"

December 10, 2001
Bon soir. Ahhhhhhhh... That's my

Bon soir.

Ahhhhhhhh... That's my reaction to the past weekend. So relaxing, so nice, so beautiful. Great friends, great food, perhaps a little too much beer and tequila, and believe it or not, peace and quiet. Even a big party in the Hamptons is mellow compared to just walking down the street on an average day. We took a day off of work, stayed an extra day, went driving in the convertible, out to land's end in Montauk, and generally tried to avoid the idea of coming back. It was one of those weekends that changes things. Well, it doesn't change things, but it clarifies things I already know. It's likea big post-it note. No, that's dumb. It's like... oh, I don't know what it's like, but it's good. It reminded me of what's important to me, and, equally importantly, what's not.

And the music. I love the music. There were 5 guitars, and at least one was going most of the time, often all 5. I learn so much from just a few hours playing with Alec, I really need to do it more often. He knows all the stuff I want to learn. About guitar, that is. Maybe I can arrange some sort of barter for lessons like Luke has. I could trade him, say, lessons is karmic alignment. Or the art of over-analysis.

Maintenant, je suis fatiguťe. Alors, bonne nuit.

December 6, 2001
I've been struggling with my

I've been struggling with my ftp server for a couple of hours, well at least one hour, but I was saved by one of my genius friends. Thanks kitty, you rock.

I can't wait to be out on the island this weekend so I can finally get some sleep. Ha.

December 5, 2001
Hey, good news. I fixed

Hey, good news. I fixed my Nomad thingie. Turns out all it needed was a good olf fashioned formatting. So now it's empty, but working. Good thing I carried that hard drive around with me for 3 days, maybe that's what fixed it, it just needed to know it was cared for. So now I'll have tunes to tote for the weekend, providing I find the time to transfer some to it. The only casualty of the operation was the 'hold' switch, which is too bad. Now it's going to turn on constantly if I carry it around, and the batteries will die. Oh well, that's the price you pay. Friendly fire.

We lost all our volleyball games again tonight, a heartbreaker. We're capable of winning, we just don't. Lots of little stupid mistakes and not serving well killed us. I did have a successful spike (confirmed kill) and my first block that worked. That was nice, but it would have been nicer to win. I'm all about the winning. Win win win win win.

In other news, I've been offered a new position at work, that of a client-side developer. I haven't decided what I'm going to do about it yet. Most likely I'll accept it, mostly because it's a change and I need one. The worst that could happen is I won't like it, or won't be good at it, and I'll leave Oxygen, which was fairly likely to happen sort of soon anyway. Even if I do take it, "brainstorming" sessions may take me down anyway. Beware the brainstorm.

I'm not feeling like writing right now, not flowing. Other thoughts dancing around: upgrading my computer, what the hell am I going to get anyone for xmas, will I ever finish this song, and what about that screenplay?

December 4, 2001
I never realized how monumentally

I never realized how monumentally terrible printing from Windows is. Printing. I mean, this isn't new technology. Printing was around at the beginning. What the hell is the big problem? The computer can't do anything else while it's printing or it just starts freaking out. Especially printing graphics, high resolution, etc. My oh my. As soon as the printing finishes, my CPU usage drops from 96% to 3%.

Yeesh.. I already restarted 3 times tonight.

Anyway, it's getting on toward 3 and I'm still up like an idiot. I've been taking my nomad thing apart, because I broke it, also like an idiot. I dropped it in Baltimore over Thanksgiving and it won't boot up anymore. I tried to catch it with my foot, but only ended up kicking it. If worst comes to worst, I'll replace the hard drive. But to do even that, I'll have to find a way to read the first, lessee, 65,536 sectors of the old drive to replecate the partition table. Pesky partition table.

Oh, and the microphone jack on my soundcard doesn't seem to be working either, so I can't record my new songs.

December 3, 2001
Sunday turned out much better

Sunday turned out much better than it started. Isn't that nice, when it feels like it's gonna be one of those Sundays, with that particular Sunday character, and it turns out better? Seems to be the exception, rather than the rule, but that's what makes it nice. Nobody likes rules.

Had a nice brunch with Liz and Kris, then went to see Amélié. That's what made the day. What a wonderful film. I haven't seen a movie that made me feel taht good in a long time, ranks up there with Harold & Maude and It's a Wonderful Life for uplifting power. It made me want to make something more of my life, be an artist, or at least live more artistically. I've done this before, from time to time, and it always made me feel great. I've had periods in my life when creation was happening all the time, and if I haven't often actually realized the real ecstatic moments of pure art, I've seen them in front of me. Combine this with some songwriting and getting better at playing the guitar than I've ever been, and I'm feeling art creep back into my life. Sometimes a movie like this comes along at exactly the right time. Sunday afternoon.

AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! Son of a bitch. I just lost a big damn chunk of writing. This only happens when I'm writing something I really like too, and then I got a phone call, and now I can't remember what it was at all. Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit. I'll never get it back. Let me assure you, though, it was brilliant.

You'd think this would teach me (again) to write in Word and then past it into Blogger. But no. Okay, damn it, this time. Argh. This really makes me sad.

I won't even try to write about what I was before, I'll just move on. Luke has been working on some lyrics for our song, and it's coming together pretty nicely! Tentatively titled "Show Me" you can find an mp3 of Luke doing the first verse here. Here are the lyrics and chords. There's another song in the works for this weekend about the tribe, I want to get some more work done on that tonight. Stay tuned.

December 2, 2001
Scattered. Smothered and Covered. Side

Scattered. Smothered and Covered. Side of eggs.

I've been listening to a bit more Phish lately than I have in a while; it's surprising how it affects me. Maybe it's not surprising. Their music has been such a part of my life for so long. Every song evokes powerful emotions, memories, images. It's so intense that I'm finding that I can hardly listen to them casually anymore. When I'm not in the mood for some kind of release or reckoning, I turn it off immediately. If Velvet Sea comes on, I had better be prepared to cry.

Spent yesterday afternoon playing guitar with Luke. It's so much more fun to play with someone else, to be able to work out songs together, and make up new stuff. We threw together a nice little series of chords, I played it later and Dave said, "What's that?". Luke and I are very comparable in ability, so it works great. By the time I went to bed last night I couldn't play a single note because my fingers hurt so badly, a great feeling. I really want to find a way to be around people in this way more often. Hanging around, playing music, singing, making up funny lyrics. It's so much more vital, such a pleasant and needed contrast to my daily routine.

Speaking of the daily routine, I'm feeling the pressure behind the dam increase exponentially. The rub is that there are elements of the routine that I love. I love volleyball, working on slapnose (more of a love/hate thing), my friends, music. But I'm aware of the inertia I'm caught in, and it's beginning to disturb me greatly. What happened to the dreams?

One more dollar. There are good things too, of course. I just feel scattered. Last night Dave, Cass, Erica and Colin came over and we watched Ghostbusters. There's always Ghostbusters. Really, it was fun, it's been nice to have the place to myself for the weekend, though I'm realizing that I spend all of my time in my room anyway, so it doesn't much matter if Kevin and Andy are around anyway. I guess it's nice to be able to watch a movie or some teevee whenever I feel like it, but really, it's probably best that I don't have that opportunity very often. Too much access to teevee is bad for me, certainly does nothing for that scattered feeling.

I feel like I got about 5 minutes of sleep last night, woke up to the stifling heat of my radiator, confused about why I was so damned uncomfortable. I wish I could remember my dreams, wrap them up in things you say, mail them off to you.