I fixed the car today. All by myself. But that comes at the end of the story.
This weekend, I caught a ride up to Chicago with Goth Dan and Brijeet, with the object of picking up the car. Well, we came around to this garage in Evanston, and there, waiting quietly in the alley, was my pretty blue Beetle. I exchanged keys and a bill for a check for some five hundred and fifty dollars.
I see I haven’t typed of this previously, so let’s rewind a few weeks, as the blizzard was clearing up and my hopes were for commuting back and forth between Urbana and Chicago a few times before classes started. Well, the first time I tried this, the car stalled out at an Amoco on the north side. Would not start, and I nearly killed the battery with my wishful thinking.
So Uncle picked me up, and we left the keys with the station attendant for the mechanic to take care of. The mechanic found that, as I had believed, there was an oil leak problem. Well, this mechanic is wiser, I think, than my young, naive recklessness, and wrote on his bill that the car should not be driven until the oil leak was fixed.
Well, I was down at school by this part, and it was left to Uncle and his friend Bill the Mover to retrieve the car from the Amoco. Bill the Mover had some insight, and recommended a place in Evanston, called Rolf’s. Well, turns out Rolf’s was not interested, but recommended this other guy, who apparently works quietly out of his house, and whom we’ve never seen, which lends an attractive mystique to the whole affair.
Well, this guy Dave had to pull the engine and the transmission to clean a whole bunch of stuff out that had become fouled by the whole thing. Parts and labor added up to $550, but it was well worth it. When we came to pick it up, I turned the key, and realized I was in a different car.
As with the brakes earlier, and the steering, previously, I had no idea that an old Beetle was supposed to ride so well. Well, it helps when all the cylinders are firing, and I’ve learned a good lesson – if you buy a Bug, find a Bug guy, and have him go over it completely. And Dave is a bug guy, because when we got the bill, it was printed in the corner the words Dave’s Old Bugs.
So, anyway, it sounded different, louder, there’s a lot more power now, so much so that I’m re-learning how to drive it. Well, me and mom and Uncle were so impressed we each took a few turns test driving it around the neighborhood Friday night. This was after I’d astounded them by folding down the back seat, which I figured out how to do after spotting another Beetle with the seat folded down. They both swore they didn’t know it was possible, and it took some experimenting to guess out the mechanics of it. My hunch is that this is a late model / Super feature.
So, Saturday morning, I reconnected the fresh air box, packed the car, and off I headed. Only I lost my ability to idle while still in Chicago. It’s a bitch to stall out when you wanna stop, so when I did have to stop, I was pumping the gas and the brake alternately. I also several times managed to restart the engine by engaging the clutch, which has made me more confident in my ability to drive stick. I was worried that things had gone so bad, but was determined to push on to Urbana. Again, this was a reckless thing to do, but dammit …
Idle aint so important on the highway anyway, except for a traffic jam on 94. That was almost fun to deal with … slowing down as much as possible without stopping, and restarting the engine. Ahhh … hell, it was kind of fun, except for the worry of ending up in a stranded car. See, another problem is that it dont start so well when it’s warmed up.
Anyways, so I got to Champaign, and got off at Market Street, not wanting to stall out at the busier, yet closer, Lincoln Street exit. I was also plotting the best route in terms of avoiding getting stuck in the middle of a busy street. This was wise, because I was stuck on many a side-street, pushing her down a hill a little ways and reassuring every other person who stopped by that I didn’t need help. That’s the nice thing about the country – people like to help out. At one point I was getting kind of frustrated, when a bunch of people popped out of nowhere and cheerfully pushed me down the street ’til the engine started.
Part of it too, I think, is that it is a Beetle, and so people tend to have even more positive reactions. Something about a bunch of older college students giving my VW a push arose in me some ancient sense of nostalgia that this had been done before, but more likely in the seventies or early eighties. I may be funny, but I swear we all might have felt something like that.
Anyway, a phone call (message) to Dave, and two rather helpful emails from a post I made to the air-cooled VW newsgroup later, and this morning I wandered out in the rain, inspected the ignition coil, and noted that the wire to the idle solenoid had slipped off. A little prestidigitation and the car was new again.
So I drove over to Allen Hall, found some kids who wanted to go to Meier, and after letting Dave Hayashida buy me a butter dish and some raisins, we managed to pack four people, six or more cases of soda, and a lot more stuff into the Beetle for the ride home. One of the guys, who I can’t say I know or even remember too well any more, was even good enough to give a little wisdom for my shifting – I’m pretty nasty going into first and second still – I’m used to driving a crappier car.
I’m also thinking of a name for the car. I’ve selected one to review, but I’m going to sit on it for awhile and decide if it really is something I’d want to Christen her with.
You know, I’ve other things I wanted to talk about, I’m sure, but I just couldn’t recall them any more.
Well, today is my birthday, and at the last minute, all my Allen Hall friends managed to pop over to the house for a big ol’ Taco party. I think Scott, one of my roommates, was a bit perturbed by the sudden onslaught of people, but after proving themselves to be a mostly harmless bunch of geeks who then proceeded to watch a movie titled something like Cane Frogs: an Unnatural History, I think he was put far more at ease.
I bought a bunch of food, invited a bunch of people, and the rest kinda took care of itself. I tried to be helpful and unobtrusive to the numerous womenfolk who busied themselves in the kitchen preparing our feast, and made sure the place was clean afterwards, and tried to graciously accept greetings of Happy Birthday, which I still don’t know how to respond to too well. My usual inclination is to wish them a Happy Birthday right back, but you wouldn’t be surprised at the confusion this tends to inspire.
Anyhow, my plan for last week was kinda disrupted by the Beetle’s final decision not to put up with it’s Engine Oil leak problem, which as far as I can tell, had been bringing slush into the oil system. Setting out for Urbana in freezing weather, it decided that it’d sooner just stay at the Amoco station. Uncle John has since ferried me down twice in mom’s minivan, which is a lot of fun to come to Urbana in because of its fuel efficiency and its ability to travel at a pretty high speed safely. Still, I miss the Beetle, which if he has not done so already, Uncle will be taking to a place that Bill the Mover recommended in Evanston called Rolf’s.
My Secret EnterSanta gave me a black-light sensitive, trippy-looking Beetle candle for Christmas. I set it alight at the party and it’s on my desk right now, burning in vigil for my comrade, I like to think.
I’ve also to replace my Palm Pilot, which is still broken from the Spring. It is all the more useful during the semester though, with numerous contacts and a shifting schedule to track.
Today I also did balance the old checkbook. I’m using this rather overgrown Perl script called cbb, and it generates nicely-formatted reports. Here’s what it sums up for me, for last year:
Total Monthly Average Income = 2652.46
Total Monthly Average Expenses = 2231.86
Total Credits = 23872.14
Total Debits = -20086.72
Balance = 3785.42
Not bad eh? Three and a half thousand dollars is about what I have available in savings to make it through the semester, never mind extra income from working. It’s a good thing, I believe.
Tomorrow is the first day of the last week of my employment at EnterAct. I’m sad to leave so many good folks and a good job, but I’m still excited to be having one last go at school, in a different environment this time, and finishing it off with a degree. I’m also excited thinking about what could happen after school. There’s a good chance I’ll prolly just work at EnterAct again, but it’s so wonderful to see that so many choices will be available to me. Maybe I’ll want to relocate and work somewhere else for a while, just for the experience, or possibly I could pursue some sort of post-graduate education. Not likely!
It will also be interesting to see how I hold out financially. I’m in a decent position, with some savings, but there’s no way I could make it through the semester without some income. Tomorrow I’ll be calling the house in Urbana and making sure it’s still available, and if it is, I’ll be accepting their room. Later in the week I’ll need to tool up my resume, and at the end of the week, when I drive down, moving stuff in and preparing for the semester, I’ll be looking around for a job. I think though, that unless I find something particularly interesting, I would be satisfied to work for the Computer Science department again as a labsitter, where I could take on consulting jobs over the ‘net in my spare hours.
Last Thursday Sean drove me out to Naperville. It was a long, epic voyage through strange country and confusing roads with similar names. Anyway, I bought him dinner because our destination was the garage of a guy named Jeff who’s moving out of town, and wanted to sell off his 1972 Super Beetle.
Now, originally, the low price had us fishing for a catch … but the car looks good, for a hunk of metal older than Sean or myself, and it putters down the road quite ably too. Sean’s assistance was required not only for his more expansive knowledge of cars, but also for his crucial ability to drive stick.
It’s a lovely blue volksy, and we couldn’t find anything against it. Sean fell immediately in love, and I warmed to it in my own skeptical way, wary of these newfangled automobile things. (I’m the one who has cheerfully subjected myself to public transportation since the opportunity presented itself in High School.) Said Sean, “I’ll be very upset with you if you don’t buy this car.”
So, Friday evening I met Jeff at his studio downtown, and he drove me home in my new car. A long stop at the bank and I swapped $1350 for a title and a key to 800 pounds of automobile history, not to mention family tradition.
Mom drove the car to work this morning, her minivan being borrowed by Uncle John. Mom is now out at the library with my new vehicle. A white Beetle was her first car, a good “learner’s car” as she describes it, for it’s simple design and maintenance and cheerful disposition on life.
Dad still drives the blue 1974 bus with the one red door that it was repaired with after the time in Texas when I woke up at two in the morning and was soon walking out the windshield of a bus that had fallen on its side after the driver, who is now Dad’s wife, handled a patch of gravel poorly. The next seventy-two hours I spent managing a group of younger kids from one Greyhound bus to the next, bound for Chicago with a touch of diarrhea thrown in for good measure. ’twas actually more fun than it sounds, though I’m not eager to repeat the experience.
Well, I hope I can make something worthwhile of it. It seems more compelling to work with than the van, whose sheer size, complexity, and creeping rust really intimidate an automotive newbie like myself. The Beetle, on the other hand, is small, less complex, and frankly, more fun. If it were a computer it’d be an Amiga – a neat, mass-produced, economical gadget with good performance for its economy and a lot of people into tinkering with them and keeping them going strong long past their parent company has passed them on.
Wed May 20 10:22:55 CDT 1998
I’m an admin guy – woohoo! finally getting paid money for doing the sort of thing I’ve been doing experimentally for at least the past two years – running systems. I was thinking the other day that we’re kinda like train crews in the old days – a chosen few who get to do the job of keeping these complicated machines that many people are depending on running, and running well, without crashing. Of course, much of the drama is lost in that our machines don’t barrel down iron rails or even weigh several tons, and nobody dies if we slip up, we just risk losing a lot of business by pissing off people who can’t do their email. Not that we’re gonna slip up in any big way of course.
No train though can route millions of email messages for tens of thousands of customers a day. Of course, I’m not actually certain how many customers we do have, but that’s not so much my concern.
I didn’t work for EnterAct at all last year, but records show I answered 73 support messages. Neat huh? I felt I had to make up for sasquatch’s free CoLo somehow ….
My history with computers begins Christmas of 1984 when Grandpa gave our family a Commodore 64 computer. It was several years before we had a complete system including disk drive, monitor, and printer. At first I was relegated to typing commands into the basic interpreter and playing cartridge-based games.
Upon graduating eighth grade in 1989, I convinced my family to reward my endeavors with an Amiga A500 computer, which blew the 64 away, holding twenty times more memory, much more speed, a capacity of 4,096 colors at higher resolution with special graphics chips, compared to the 64’s 16 colors, and best of all it had a cool built-in disk-drive on the side.
By 1992 I had saved up half the money required to make the purchase of an Amiga 1200, the descendant of the A500, with more advanced graphics, processing power, and a continued low price tag of around $600. The A1200 and A500 were cheap enough for my family to realistically afford, and gave a great amount of ability for the price. The graphics, sound, and multitasking Operating System were far superior to that offered on any other platform. Unfortunately, Commodore’s management and marketing sucked, and they went belly-up by 1996.
After being discharged from the Army in 1994, I began attending the University of Illinois in Winter of 1995, where I was for the first time exposed to NCSA Mosaic, and was induced to create my first web page. I remember the great effort it had been to find, scan, crop, and convert a small photo of me to augment what I had there. The web loaded a lot quicker before everyone started putting graphics all over the damn place like they do today.
Telecommunications has always been a strong interest of mine. Unfortunately, online services were priced beyond my reach throughout most of my childhood. By the time I came to the University I was finally making enough money to subscribe to a local Chicago Internet access provider. I’d felt like I missed a lot not having the financial capabilities to get on the networks sooner though.
When I first arrived at the University, my interest was in not going in to Computer Science, as I really only liked the Amiga, ever-waning in it’s popularity. That and I wasn’t particularly interested in making Math a great thing in my life. However, I eventually did join the CS department after my first experiences learning code – it was so fun and liberating! Now I had some power over computers, I could write the software, and do things the way I hoped they could be. And, after all, the other computers weren’t so bad. The Unix systems at least seemed to work well enough.
Well, Math of course, is not my strong suit. A year or so ago I met Brad in the Allen cafeteria, and was shocked at his approach of being a Rhetoric major with a minor in CS! Gee … I’d always enjoyed writing for my own personal interest, much as I loathed research papers. And I did hit the 99% percentile on the ACT for “Rhetoric” – whatever that was, I had not known at the time. And come to think of it, hadn’t I placed out of Rhet 105 three different ways?
The next week, I proudly made the switch.
The Internet continues to play a very big part in my life. My web site grows slowly every week. I keep my diary on-line for others to read. I write CGI applications. I’m a hard-core Unix geek, administering two of my own systems, writing my HTML and perl scripts in vi, wowwing friends with afterstep. I work for the networking group at NCSA, for the CSIL as a labsitter, and worked last summer at an ISP in Chicago called EnterAct, where I may very well return this summer.
I now use only Unix, and my old Amiga systems from time to time out of nostalgia and respect for history. I own two Unix boxen, four Amiga systems, and the old Commodore 64. While most of these are antiques, I still lend some systems out to others from time to time to facilitate their computing needs.
My fanatical Unix snobbery does mean that I know very little about Windows 95 or Mac. Because I have good computer karma, I still tend to negotiate such systems better than the average Joe, but I’m by no means a wiz. Instead I enjoy spending my time tinkering with completely open systems like FreeBSD. I am proud and inspired by the idea that there are now several very competent Operating Systems available even for normal users that are built and maintained entirely by volunteer effort. It is my goal to continue to learn and ultimately contribute to this effort as I can.
I hate Windows though. I find Microsoft’s philosophy of “Might Makes Right” peculiarly offensive. It seems a holy war between the dark forces of greed and the efforts of people writing useful stuff for free. I’m proud to say that not one byte of Microsoft code has ever run on any system that I own. In order to push this idea of independence I am even now writing a school paper in the archaic language of troff through vim, sending the job to the Dorm’s NT print server through lpr.
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning,
In the words that it was forming.
And the signs said,
The words of the prophets
are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls.
And whisper’d in the sounds of silence.
The Sound of Silence
I have eaten today, four pieces of rye bread and a rather mediocre french fry that I stole from Dave in a moment of mindlessness.
I’m not hungry either, at least not very.
Why haven’t I eaten?
I’ve been toying a while with the idea of fasting … it seems something truly … insightful? I don’t know quite what I expect out of it, but Gandhi advocated the fast as a tool that would help one attain spiritual enlightenment.
In the Order of the Arrow, “meager rations” are something an inductee will suffer during their ordeal … there seems something spiritual about hunger, I’m not sure what.
Hunger is not something we normally experience. At least, if we are hungry, most of us in the modern world, hell, most of us throughout the world, will eat something. What is it like to “go hungry”?
I don’t know.
You see, it’s a simple experiment … eat naught but two pieces of rye bread at the meals I’ve been at today, and drink water … simple, a sort of “purification” and denial of a physical pleasure. Much like clergy may take vows of celibacy … I’m not likely to do that any time soon, but I might try today a simple experiment with a short fast, and expand upon that if I feel there may be more value to pursue there.
I will break fast tomorrow at 1100h when I’m scheduled to meet Casey for lunch over at Busey-Evans.
… but the rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated!
I know it’s been a long while since I wrote here. Apologies to those who wait with the phosphorescence of their monitors burning radiation on their cheeks. It’s been a remarkable few weeks!
Biggest news I’d have to say is breaking up with Asao. Second biggest news, getting a license. Third biggest news: new eyeglasses.
So let’s start at the top. Dunno if I’ll catch up to speed tonight.
First off, MikeyA wrote about the last journal entry, criticizing the idea that I might not commit to something without understanding it first. For the record, I have no trouble going after something I don’t quite understand. The thing to realize is that it is a long while before I can truly feel comfortable, as if something were second-nature. Until that point, well I’m not going to be perfect. I guess this is all really sort of obvious.
You see, on Saturday, I attended Chris Sims’ wedding, which was held outside Foellinger on the Quad – very cool. Well you know the thoughts rattle through my head, among them is the old idea that two folks get married when they’re near the point that they can anticipate each other, that they can leave things unsaid and understand. That’s not something I ever approached having with Asao, and that’s the sort of thing that separates, perhaps, love from marriage. The minister went on something about how one can not have marriage without love. Of course, love is a far cry from marriage.
What this means? Eh, well people who can’t read each other’s minds yet gotta communicate, dammit!
And that’s what broke down with Asao.
I’ll get to that.
Anyways I was home last week. Hell, now it’s not last week but really the week before last. See, I been in Champaign for a week. Okay.
So, first of all, they moved the Greyhound station. It used to be in Urbana, now it’s in Champaign. Good thing I left early and asked the bus driver on the first bus I got on or else things might have been nasty. Anyways one reason to return home was to get a driver’s license, and when I arrived at the bus station I realized I’d left my glasses in the apartment and couldn’t get back to get them in time. Okay, so later in the week I got a new pair, a very nice new pair, at the LensCrafters in Lincolnwood Mall. Good.
So, practiced driving around with Uncle. Made it down to MicroCenter to buy a new keyboard. Another NMB keyboard for $19.95! Damn fine keyboard – highly recommended. I’m whacking my fingers upon it right now!
On Thursday I took the Driver’s Test and passed. Yeehaw!
Anyways later that evening I’m exchanging messages with Asao about the latest round of harassing email from Oakland. Somebody’s learned to forge headers to sneak past the filter I put up for Asao so I say as soon as I get back to town we gotta get together so I can revise things. I’d like to do it right then as she had an exam Thursday. (So, this must have been Wednesday this all took place.)
So I think, no … don’t want her password … just not so comfortable with the idea. I think briefly of .rhosts and mention that as a possibility, but one I’d want to exercise only if she really wanted the filter right then and there.
That’s when things exploded. Slowly though. Next I knew she’s accusing me, but not accusing me, rather interrogating me and trying to get me to admit to something, though she’ll never say quite what she’s getting at. Nearest I can tell she wanted me to admit to some sneak underhanded conspiracy to undermine her account.
That’s when I ended it. I wrote her a message saying that I was sick and tired of her going wacko on me every other month, and accusing me of all sorts of horrendous things on a regular basis which she’d later retract. “No more” I tell her, it’s over.
[ . . . ]
And all along there’s the sort of nagging thought, right as I feel that I am in my judgment logic and decisions, that I might have been able to do better. I’ve never had a girlfriend I rejected because I thought they had a problem that was lethal to the relationship and that I could not solve, so you know, I like to fix things, but it seems like a no-win case. I don’t see what more I can and should do, it’s all over now.
Wow. EnterAct’s Lakeview T1 just went down for a few minutes, but it got fixed pretty quick. I lost this terminal window but as soon as things were back up I got an email from vi stating that it had recovered my work. Sweet!
Well, anyway when I got back to town things were a might lonely. I’ve been making new friends though. I ran in to Sarah, from Asako’s party, exchanged email addresses. I’ve been hanging out on the Quad, running in to folks I know. This weekend Andrew, Ed and Ray were in town and we had a BBQ at Rachel’s where I met new folks, Charlie, Kajorn and the lovely Nelyn. These folks I was out playing volleyball with last night.
It seems weird though, not having Asao present. Her concluding email expressed some intent to never hear of me again. That is painful. Ideally I would have hoped for her to realize the poison in the relationship, or that she might at least understand my point of view, for having done what I did, but then we’re all different, and I think it would be a very difficult spot to be in her shoes.
Well, hopefully I’ll continue adding thoughts and lighter stuff up here tomorrow.
A reflection on love and gradualism
I caught “This American Life” on WILL yesterday. I love that show. This week the topic was Canadians. You know, those folks up north who like hockey and are otherwise pretty much like Americans except that they’re Canadians. One issue of concern was whether there really were any differences of note between us.
Ian Brown was perhaps the most interesting Canadian that was featured. At least the most interesting to me. He’s the host of a show from the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that’s played on NPR. He ends each week with a personal essay and stuff. The show is cool because it has a Canadian perspective on things, which is similar enough to an American perspective that it’s not shocking or anything, but subtly different to the point that it’s actually more interesting.
Well, anyway those who wish to listen to Canadian Radio will do that, I’m not trying to advertise for the CBC here.
One thing that set Ian off on an interesting discussion though, was a question of how a Canadian felt about learning history. Canadian history is just so boring. There was no war for independence and stuff, no slavery, no “We the People ..” catch phrases and the like. Isn’t it harder perhaps to be proud of your country when it’s not marked by these sudden historical events which define it so well?
Ian replied that yes, Canadian history is really dull. Well, what can you do about it? He expressed though that in a way, it was representative of what Canada is. Canada, as you may well know, is a cold place. Folks who survive in the cold tend to think things out, thoroughly, rationally, taking their time before acting, not wanting to act in haste. Compare that to the USA where we got a bunch of impassioned revolutionaries declaring independence and hunkering down to fight a war with the most powerful nation in the world without even a government having been set up to really support them.
Yeah, well so what? Well, it got me to thinkin’ that I am a gradualist, that really I change creakingly slow over time. Of course, it doesn’t really seem that way. I’m like all in to rationalism and stuff, and thinking things out before I really commit myself to something, body and soul, so to speak.
Like I said, it don’t seem that way. I’m the fucker who up and joined the Army after getting an IB diploma in High School. Pretty crazy thing to do, but it was the result of many forces that had been acting on me for a long time, in subtle ways. My desire for community, comradeship, nostalgia for Boy Scouts, a desire to try to impose some sort of order on my life. Well, the factors are even more than that. On the surface the more impulsive rationalization, which wasn’t so much my real reason for joining but an interesting excuse as to why I did, was that I could get out in two and a half years, and go to say University of Illinois on the Veteran’s scholarship, plus $20,000 from the GI Bill.
Anyway, that’s all in the past, but I was no perfect soldier. I tended to be kinda cerebral and preoccupied with my own thoughts. Crazy fun that fighting in a protracted miserable conflict might be, I’m not cut out for it, nor do I think I really would be after Military Training. I was the oddball, who got under DS Sirois’ skin. Somebody pointed out to me that I was really messing the Drill Sergeant’s mind up, I hadn’t even realized. I tended to be kinda outta there, mentally. Training is not the sort of experience that I go for.
Now, reasons aside why I went for it to begin with, the point was that the radically different sort of thinking the Army demanded of me, I was not engaging in. I change slow that way, the way I think. Maybe I’m too complex and self-absorbed. Maybe though it’s good for me. I do feel that despite relying on Financial Aid as opposed to GI Bill and IVS, I am better off the way that I am. But then, I tend to be sort of biased toward myself eh?
Same thing with drinking the other night. Seems kind of impulsive and crazy eh? Well, I was pretty sauced, but not too much, and I view the whole affair as an experiment anyway. An experiment conducted as part of an ongoing investigation with regards to my relationship with alcohol. An investigation that has been going on for many years, where I’ve thought deeply of the problems, presented by alcohol, it’s potential benefits, my own tolerance to it, etc etc etc blah blah blah all of which was hashed over for years before I allowed myself to take much more than a few sips at a time.
Love. Now there’s a difficult thing to work in to this gradualist persona. Mind you, I’ve never really dated, casually and socially as a good American boy is supposed to do. For one I’m shy, and to be honest, for a long time I really didn’t understand what the point to dating was? Comraderie? Well, you don’t need to be sexually attracted to someone to have a fun night out with them. Sex? Well, you don’t really need to have a fun night out with someone in order to have sex. Wouldn’t it be more honest to tell someone right out you wanted to do it rather than wasting a whole evening on silly cultural formalities you’re not really interested in?
Yeah, pretty messed up, but that was early investigation in to the matter. I don’t know that I’ve ever figured out what dating is. I don’t really worry about it either. You go out, you have fun, maybe you fool around some. You perhaps select someone you are attracted to for the intimacy which develops, and/or the possible physical jollies you could share. On the one hand you could go out with a group of friends, or with someone you’re not interested in, but you have more potential payoff, emotionally and sexually, if you select someone you’re attracted to. Well, maybe. I haven’t conducted any grand social study to figure out exactly which is more satisfying more of the time. This is just a possible way of looking at things.
Ooooh, he sounds so clinical! Or is it cynical? (Yes folks. Yin and Yang, two sides to every interpretation.)
Augh, so where does that leave me? In love. First with Linda, then with Jeong, next with Asao. Linda, well that was pretty doomed. Jeong … well that had promise, a lot of it, but I was the one not prepared to really come to when push came to shove, the emotional expenditure that is so great with the distance between us. I have for so long been a loner. If I change gradually, it is something to ask which I can not give, and still be myself, to change so quickly on a deep emotional level.
But change I do, with time. I’m more open to love than I once was with Linda. I understand it and myself better now. I know better what I want. If I’m to try again, it is with a greater amount of success, and despite it’s ups and downs, I think I’ve done quite well with our relationship. So what’s the problem, that causes so much turbulence?
Asao is not like me. In that I mean she is not a gradualist. She may be a gradualist though, then perhaps she is not facing it. That’s an interpretation drawn from what I know of myself, so I’d like to say that’s likely very inaccurate, I am a freak after all, but who is to know? We are not so close yet that I should know her devils better than her, or that she should know my own better than me.
See, Asao is going ahead, rushing full steam with the love thing, or so she tells me. For her, there is no question about it. For me, there is no question about the important thing either. Yes, I love her, I can not contest this fact. Nor do I wish to. But the gradualist side in me wishes to understand what this love is, how it works, what makes it tick, what it really means to embrace it so, before I really can commit myself to such a point where I have no questions over what my feelings for Asao really mean. What they mean to the larger picture, of me, who I am, what I am, and her, who and what she is. What does this love that joins us together really mean, if anything? I want to know before I buy the boat or whatever.
This is not to say, that I can not give myself to her. I believe in all honesty that I can and that I have done so within all limits of my understanding of how to fill such a roll. I love Asao S. I could easily picture my life being spent with her, in marriage, maybe with kids. I have no problem with that.
Then what problem do I have? Well, there is a problem, if we want to ask if there is one. If there were no problem then why would we have the problems that we do? I think my problem, if ever there was one, is my own desire to understand love before I can feel really comfortable with it. To understand this, it is not at all necessary to dismantle our relationship. I can learn this stuff slowly over time, but I want to learn anyway.
Asao seems to resent the opportunity that I see in her departure. I’ve (insensitively) said how I might take the opportunity to take on a “conventional” girlfriend, a romantic companion with whom I am not in love. I might better understand love by experiencing this sort of different thing. I wouldn’t dare do such a thing in her presence of course, but if she would find it acceptable while we are apart, and I think long distance is bad for one’s sanity, well then more power to me. Not that I think I’d have much luck in finding a girl I really liked enough, and who liked me, that we’d go out, not that that’s happened ever before without falling in love first, but I’d hate to waste a potentially educational opportunity were it to present itself at a suitable time.
That is perhaps the most offensive thing to her. What goes hand in hand with this, and what was responsible for a previous argument, was that I seem to be looking forward to her leaving, perhaps as a result of what I mention in the previous paragraph. Like I’m just dying for her to go away so that I may sow my wild oats. Hogwash, but compelling hogwash at that.
I have explained that the other thing that makes me not so glum about her departure is that the time might be good for us. We communicate poorly together right now, perhaps being restricted to email will strengthen our capabilities here. As well, the time, more likely spent alone than with some hypothetical hot babe who digs me, should do me some good, will further my own understanding of who I am, what I want, where my efforts should lie, how I should regard people, etc etc etc etc …. in short I see me as a better person for my friends and whatever future love I might have, which I see as Asao.
So why am I this way? Eh there’s a question I don’t want to try and tackle now. But it relates to another thing Ian Brown said. In America, when you walk in to the wilderness, you get a sense that you have gone to a place where several great people have gone before. Lewis and Clark or whoever. The trouble then is that you feel perhaps less motivated, as there’s nothing new under the sun. Ian said that in the Canadian wilderness, he can get a feeling that he might be somewhere where nobody has ever gone before. Canada is a desolate place. The problem with that mentality, he said, can then become that you feel that what you might set out to accomplish could well be impossible, as no one has ever tried it before.
Well, no one has ever been me before. Can I succeed? I know I have successes and failures, where can I end up? I can look at others as examples of people who have gone before where I might be going, but then I don’t know what that destination is, now if I might succeed in getting there. I think if I were any more unsure of myself I could then be neurotic. God bless then, my cocky side, or I might never get anything done!
Ehhh, time to retire now, from these trains of though. Rather now time to proof and spell-check before unleashing another document on to the web. Oh where will it go? And what will be the result? And how can I know that the packets will get there reliably? (That’s a joke, if you weren’t noticing.)
Young man, there’s no need to feel down
I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground
I said, young man, ’cause your at UIUC
There’s no need to be unhappy.
Young man, there’s a place you can go
I said, young man, when you’re short on your dough
You can work there, and I’m sure you will find
You’ll have a pretty damned cool time.
It’s fun to work for the N.C.S.A.
It’s fun to work for the N.C.S.A.
They have everything that the 31337 enjoy
You can work with our NetDev team.
I got the job, indeed. I start 2 April. All summer I can work full-time. Hate to disappoint Jessica but I guess I won’t be workin’ at EnterAct this summer! Maybe next summer, they’ll have real cool networks and such, and I’ll be super-qualified to monkey given my 31337 NCSA training!
Checked out an apartment yesterday. It was Stacey’s place … I dunno, I think I’ll keep looking, but for $375 for the summer, one can’t complain much. Considering though, that housing gets ridiculously cheap over the summer, I think I could do better. Morris said cheaper could be found even.
And that NCSA pays … $6 an hour .. no, not whole hell of a lot, but good money by my standards. Full-time for summer .. if that’s real, would add up to $6 * 40 * 4 = $960(?) per month! Ai! Not bad … assuming cheap housing and a non-luxuriant lifestyle, could probably cover tuition with that!
Poor Asao is working her arse off on Econ assignments. Word is she was up all last night and still working like crazy. She’s flying to Washington DC tomorrow for break so she’s like even Xeroxing stuff to work on over break in consideration of exams very nearly as soon as she gets back. Three, I think. We’ll be eating together as I work here ’til 7 anyway, and she’ll be swamped ’til then … we want to spend time together before going our separate ways for a while.
Dammit, I wanna get Dannyland back up so’s I can start writing neat SSI apps. You see the bottom of the page there? Yeah, I’m thinking to write some SSI programs to automatically generate a line that will link between the “previous” day and the next, so I won’t have to type that shit in manually all the time.
It’s about 5:11 right now, I’m mighty hungry … ’til 7? Well, we can go out and eat someplace nice, I can strap on the ol’ feed-bag maybe.
Today I started reading William Faulkner’s “The Sound and the Fury”. I needn’t start ’til after break, but might as well get cracking. For some reason I think I may enjoy this book, though I may be horribly wrong. Very difficult stream-of-consciousness. I don’t know, but we’ll see.
Ray is in the lab right now. He’s the guy I’m replacing over at NCSA. He seems jovial about the whole affair. I may have said how their selection was narrowed down to three people, well they went ahead, it seems, and hired two of us, the third being knocked out by the luck, or lack thereof, of the draw, or somesuch. I’m not sure. I don’t think I’d want to know too much what went in to my specific selection. Ray voiced concern that he was wondering where there’d be room for two of us. I ‘haint about to worry ‘though.
Yesterday is the day the hardware died. I’m going to make a personal holiday of it. Personal holidays off-hand;
|18 Jan 1976
|14 Feb 1997
||Asao & Dan’s Anniversary
|— Mar 19–
|17 Mar 1997
||Hardware Failure Day
||Ex-Girlfriend Day (Jeong and Linda’s Birthdays!)
|4 Jul 1776
|— Aug 19–
|— Aug 19–
Well, among all those hard-hitters, I dunno whether Hardware Failure Day can really catch on. Lemme tell ya what happened.
So like 2:45AM I drop by my room and check on my pine session running on at sasquatch. Two new messages. Oooh, I hit return to read them, and get a message from pine saying that a very serious disk error was afoot, the sort you talk to your administrator about. A disk error of “type 5” and that’s the last I hear.
Well, after some jostling about, dashing an email here and there, I hear from Tom;
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 1997 05:04:52 -0600 (CST)
From: “Thomas H. P—–” <t—-@enteract.com>
To: Dannyman <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: *please* dannyland.org FRIED!
Your machine is making extremely weird loud grinding noises.
I checked all the patch cables and reset the box. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do.
Thomas P—— at EnterAct, L.L.C., Chicago, IL [t—@enteract.com]
“If you’re so special, why aren’t you dead?”
Yeah, that’s like not good. I’ll be coming home for Spring Break on Friday though. The next morning I checked my Amiga’s shell prompt …
PING sasquatch.dannyland.org (18.104.22.168): 56 data bytes
--- sasquatch.dannyland.org ping statistics ---
34749 packets transmitted, 0 packets received, 100% packet loss
Guess I’m in the market for a new hard drive?
But hard drives fail all the time. Hell, this would be my third dead hard disk. Anyways so me and Asao were making out a bit after dinner, and I’d left my glasses on her bed, and we took turns sitting on them. People kissing aren’t so attentive about what they might be sitting on. The arms were bent upwards, and I bent them back just fine. But, well … fine tuning the left arm it broke off. Ouch! Now I have a one-armed eyeglass.
Now Asao’s pretty conscientious about where my glasses keep themselves. She seemed to feel bad about being involved in their untimely destruction. That’s okay though, I’d been wanting to replace the lenses any way, they’re scratched. The frames are obviously quite aged too. This pair has lasted me many years, a good strong piece of workmanship. I’m truly impressed and hope to find an identical frame.
Rachel was wearing stretch pants today with a floral pattern. I thought that rather attractive. But anyway the bigger thing is turns out Rachel’s a budding optician, and offered to mend the “temple” temporarily. If this half-cocked set-up doesn’t work out, I may take her up on that.
I’m thinking, I’ve got some month’s-old backups of my home directory, but this “crash” has taken a lot out of me spiritually .. maybe it’s time to start things over … namely, my web page? We’ll see. I’m glad I’ll have Spring Break to give me free-time for restoring things! About all that’s new so far is I’ve added a recently-written story on line. When it was reviewed in class it was well-received for the convincing tone and excellent detail. The readers were then let down all the more, it would seem, by the somewhat farcical ending. You can judge yourself though.
I’ve got work to do, so that’s all for now.
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