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Sunday, December 7th, 2008

Subject:More Things I Have in Common with Mark Twain
Time:11:24 pm.
      After consulting the computer repair service in California, I opted against sending out my system just yet. I still plan to, but I'll be waiting until after the holidays are over and things in general calm down. In the meantime, I picked up a gig of RAM and switched it into my good slot, so I'm still around for the time being.

      The big news is that I finally saw a doctor about my head. The interview was brief, and I wasn't really asked anything I didn't expect or told anything I didn't know, but it confirmed for me certain notions that I'd been harboring for some time: primarily, that I seem to be a clinical case. Doc can't send me to a psychiatrist because my insurance won't cover mental health unless I've basically been self-injurious, but both the attending and my landlord - who's about a year shy of his doctorate in psychology - seem to indicate I'm a likely candidate for dysthymia, a low-grade, high-functioning form of depression that's characterized by pervasive and lasting feelings of hopelessness and despair that don't subside, nor do they mingle with manic symptoms or launch into full-scale depressive episodes. The word, "dysthymia", in fact means "bad state of mind", which I think pretty well describes me on any given day.

      So for the last two weeks, I've been taking regular doses of sertraline, an SSRI more commonly called 'Zoloft'. The effects thus far have been interesting, but not what I'd call radical: I have more energy, I'm more focused, more motivated, generally less miserable, and perhaps most importantly, the pain in my arthritic knee has reduced significantly. Good news all around, I suppose, but I think I'm going to ask Doc for a higher dose and see how that works out. He seemed to indicate that it would be a likely course of action, anyhow, but he wanted to start small.

      Anyway, that's all I have for now. Any of you who're also on meds or have experience on the mental health ride and might want to bring to my attention questions I should ask or things I should be wary of, I'm listening.
Clash Swords With Me: 4 Battle Scars - Attack!.

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Subject:This Shit Again
Time:2:00 am.
      So apparently I'm going to be without my computer again. After having some troubles with the HDD overheating in the last couple days (my co-workers run this place like an oven), my T30 has fallen prey to what is apparently a rather common problem with the solder joints that connect the memory to the motherboard, causing one of the slots to not recognize. This has caused my system to run at an abysmal 256M for the last couple days, and frankly it's become difficult to do anything other than write very short things on very simple pages (hence, this post).

      Thankfully there's a place out in Cali that specializes in repair of this particular problem, and it'll only cost me fifty-five bucks plus one-way shipping to get the job done. Fifty-five bucks I don't need to spend, for sure, but my only other options involve trusting it to a local repair shop who very probably won't be so well-versed in this specific problem and will also charge me a sixty-or-better dollar "diagnostic fee" to tell me what I already know.

      As long as I'm getting my system memory repaired, I figure I may as well upgrade, anyway. Another thirty to fifty I could stand to not spend, but it's money well spent in this case, I think, to go from 760M to 1.5-2G. Hopefully the shop I'm sending it to can accommodate me and get the RAM locally instead of having me order it from NewEgg and waiting for it to ship to me, first.

      The gist of all this is that I'll be incommunicado again, hopefully for no more than a couple weeks, tops. Back soon, if fortune smiles.
Clash Swords With Me: Attack!.

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

Subject:Yeah, We Did
Time:2:23 am.
      Let me kick this off by showing, not telling:

      That pretty neatly encapsulates how I feel about the results of last night's election. I had been tracking the electoral tally since about 1900 EST last night, and was a little nervous at first. But at a final count of 349 electoral votes to McCain's 163, I think it's safe to say that Obama did not simply beat McCain, he beat the shit out of him.

      Having said that, I'm not angry or bitter at McCain: just the people who voted for him. McCain was, as ever, gracious in defeat, and in his concession speech I saw a bit of the man who first announced his bid for the presidency. Had McCain spoke with such earnestness and frankness for these many months - and had he not hitched his wagon to living piece of political satire Sarah Palin - I might have been more conflicted over who to vote for. The smear tactics, the pandering to the far right, and the naming of Palin as a VP candidate, however, alienated him to moderates, and he paid for it.

      President Obama (fuck, it feels good to write that) was magnanimous and eloquent in victory. The speech he gave was rousing, patriotic, and inspiring, and while I remain a cynic at my core, I am nevertheless anticipating the Obama presidency eagerly, and for the first time in almost eight years, I feel cautiously optimistic, not just cautious.

      As I mentioned, I find myself feeling an uncharacteristic amount of aggression towards McCain voters. Not the chucklefucks in the red states, that I expected: rather, I know people, some close, others not, many of whom I like and respect, but nevertheless voted for McCain. A vote for McCain I could very nearly understand, but when a vote for McCain is also a vote for Palin, I find myself at a loss for understanding. My girlfriend does not understand this anger. I attempted to explain to her with a metaphor, saying that if someone spits on your and misses, they still tried to spit on you, you'd still be angry, but she thinks I should just be happy my side won. And I am happy my side won, but there still exists in me this burning need to understand, to make peace with the idea of people I like voting for an agenda that includes bigotry, warmongering, greed, superstition, and fear. Which of those things is most appealing to you? I suspect that, for the most part, the people I know who voted for McCain are fiscal conservatives and - now - single-issue voters. I wish this were a balm to my anger, but it isn't. I registered Socialist this election, and I did so before it was popular to call Obama that as an insult. I reg'd Socialist because I actually do believe that wealthy people should be taxed more to provide for people who make less. The upper class has always exploited and made their fortunes on the backs of the working class. We should all be so lucky as to make so much money the government would consider taxing us extra to provide for the underclass, and some wealthy person crying about having to pay an extra 3% in income tax to provide universal health care and education to every man, woman, and child in this country is so perverse and disgusting to me that it makes me wish I had cinder blocks for hands. The underclass this money is providing for is not, as your tribal elders would have you believe, to support legions of lazy people who won't work: these programs are there to support gas station attendants, waiters, dishwashers, retail clerks, truck drivers, craftsmen, teachers, janitors, and all the rest of us millions of working stiffs who bust our asses just to keep from drowning. The one solace I take in this is knowing that in all likelihood, several years from now my friends and loved ones who voted against Obama in this election will know that they were on the outside of an epoch-making moment in American history. Things will have changed for the better, and while everyone will have shared in the prosperity, they will know that they made the wrong choice.

      I was told by someone close to me that if I was making that much money, I wouldn't want to pay the extra taxes, either. It made me feel a little sick in the pit of my stomach, because I thought they knew me better than that. If any of my "fiscally conservative" friends are reading this right now, I want to make my stance on the matter crystalline:
If you earn so much money annually that the government would like to take 3% more out of your salary to provide everyone in this country with health care and education, and you find this thought to be unpleasant or objectionable, you are a worthless sack of dogshit.

      The international reaction to our election here in America is pretty heartening, too. It seems the whole world was pulling for not just Obama, but for us, as well. At a discussion site I frequent, encouragement and support poured in from people all over the world, congratulating us for not fucking things up. Then I see sites like Election Day Around the World and If the World Could Vote and I realize that this isn't just a victory for Obama, or for we Americans, but for people all over the world who were pulling for us to wake up and stop behaving like dicks. I truly hope we can do the whole world proud and that with some good leadership at our helm, we can be a great nation again.

      The dark lining to all of this is that Prop 8 passed in California, a state I used to be proud to be from. California, long a bastion of free-thought and liberal ideas, voted 52-48 to institute a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage, as well as possibly annul marriages that were conducted during the brief period when they were 100%, no-bullshit legal. Whether or not these marriages will be grandfathered in is still up for the courts to decide. I know it's callous to wish anybody harm, but I honestly hope there's a fucking riot of bloodbath proportions when these hearings get underway. I want to see Mormon heads decorating pikes flying rainbow flags. I'm sick of hoping that enlightenment and love will magically fall upon the old and hateful: now I just want them so fucking afraid of the people they're dicking that they will do whatever we fucking tell them to.

      I know it isn't a very democratic notion, but I've never been a very big fan of the democratic model, so fuck it.

      When thinking about Prop 8 gets me down, I hope for the future, repeat the words "President Obama" in my head once more, and remind myself that Sarah fucking Palin is on a plane back to the frozen wastes of her icy kingdom, where hopefully she will never be seen or heard from in the lower 48 ever again.

Clash Swords With Me: 9 Battle Scars - Attack!.

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

Time:12:42 am.
      So it's been a while since I updated. Almost a year, in fact. So little to say. So little done. Stagnation. I haven't been writing because I've been bored, depressed. My creativity has dried up almost entirely, and I haven't written anything meaningful in months. When I try, nothing comes out. So, sorry to everyone who cares, to my friends at the forum who might miss my stories. I've had internet access back for a little while now, but now I've just got nothing to say.

      Cyn says I should update, let people know how I've been doing. I pretty much just encapsulated it. Still working, as if it need be stated. Applied for maybe a hundred jobs since my last update, had a few interviews, ended up either not taking the job or not getting called back. Couple of them were goddamn carnival games that stretched on for months, but I'm not in limbo at the moment. Interviewed for a spot at a local college making about half-again what I'm making now, and I think I've got a shot at it, but I won't know for a month. Gears turn, slowly. These days it's all playing games and reading and facing the new day a little worse than the one before. Been thinking lately I might be a clinical case, which has scored a chorus of "no shit" from pretty much everyone who knows me. Mean to see a doctor about that, awkward questions and prescription pills.

      I've decided that October is the best month. The days grow weak, the wind grows strong, and everything is pumpkin, the sweetest of the gourds. I cannot get enough fucking pumpkin. And Halloween, too, the only holiday worth a damn to me, the only one where there isn't some implied assumption you'll be spending the day with your loved ones, all of mine being a continent away. I like Halloween because I like to be scared. Real things can scare me, like the thought of losing my job, having to live outdoors again, losing Cyn, my pickup giving up the ghost. Slow poisons, though, a rabbit punch to the chest before having to get up and climb back to my feet. I want mortal terror, lizard brain flight-impulse. I don't feel that, and can't remember the last time I did. That isn't boasting. I wish I could feel that, but I'm too rational for monsters. There's nothing in the dark. But I like it when people try, and once a year, I give people money and they try to make me feel terror, and I find the experience altogether pretty fun. So that's how I spent my holiday.

      The election is tomorrow morning. There's a good chance I'll feel a little better tomorrow night, and a slightly smaller chance I'm going to feel worse. Since I'm not among the wealthiest five percent of the nation's earners, nor am I a bigot, I will, of course, be voting for Obama, which should surprise nobody. And if I was that rich, I'd still vote for Obama, because I sincerely want there to be no possibility that Sarah Palin have a shot at becoming our nation's Commander in Chief. The fact that someone as jingoistic and fearful as Palin could have even made the list of potential candidates makes me want to move far, far away.

      I know it's popular to tell people to get out and vote, to be active in the electoral process regardless of whom they support. I'm not going to say that. If you plan to vote for McCain/Palin, I think you should stay the fuck home. Don't vote. Whether you're an idiot, a spoiled child, or just plain hate "faggits n' niggers", please, please, do not vote. There was a time in this country when voting Republican was not only justifiable, not simply understandable, but a wise position. That time is over. Republicans are spoiled, greedy, jingoistic, bellicose believers in apocalyptic fairy tales, one and all. On my worst day, I will still happily fiddle when the plutocracy they build still around themselves burns to the ground.

      Anyway. I play World of Warcraft now. If any of you play, you should tell me your names and servers.

      Hopefully I'll have another update after the election results are in. Hopefully it'll be a happier one.
Clash Swords With Me: 14 Battle Scars - Attack!.

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

Time:2:17 am.
      I'll be in Bingo for a night and a day this coming Wednesday into Thursday, the 19th into the 20th, to coincide with Conley's visiting. Cynthia will be along, too. We'll be staying over in a hotel and arriving in town hopefully around 2000 that night. If anyone wants to see me, hang out, hit Denny's, whatever, I'm available.

      Has it really been two months and change since I've updated? Shit. I really must do something about that.
Clash Swords With Me: 6 Battle Scars - Attack!.

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

Subject:Still Alive
Time:2:30 am.
      My 2007 can be summed up thus:
"In life you have to do a lot of things you don't want to do. Many times, that's what the fuck life is... One vile fucking task after another."
.Al Swearengen, 'Deadwood'

      And that's basically how it all went down. 2007 is fast going onto the books as one of my worst years to date, with only the most remote and infrequent oases to refresh my crawl through this desert of fucking defeat. Nah, I'm not going to sit here and enumerate the sins this poisonous fucking world has wrought upon me over the last 365: anyone who bothered to read the scant few entries I've made over the previous year (it won't take long, just scroll down) will know where I've been, and the rest of it isn't worth mentioning so the two of you still reading this can get some sadistic titter out of whatever arrows met me and rocks I stumbled on. Suffice it to say that Muddy Waters knew what was up: if it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all.

      The holidays were cold and lonesome, like I figured. I worked a double on Christmas Eve and Day, and another double on the New Year. Gifts came from my mother - a down blanket, as I'd requested, as well as various foodstuffs (she worries about my diet, and rightly so) - and father sent a check. Christmas morn, I got home at 0630, slept for five hours, and went back to work. Knowing that I'm a damned heathen, I don't take missing the holiday itself quite so hard, but I suppose it was unfortunate that there really was nothing to celebrate. Usually I find an excuse to visit a friend or have dinner with some of my mates over, but this year, the holidays came and went, the only genuflection of observation from me the opening of a box that contained my new blanket, and the notice to a tiny plastic tree that Cynthia bought for my apartment. Looking at it Christmas morning produced a lump in my throat. No wonder so many people commit suicide over the holidays.

      The overtime is good for the moment, because it means money, and survival, and the chance to eat a few real meals, pay the bills, and buy some gifts until the money runs dry. I feel kind of awful about being thankful for the time, as the gap was created by one of my co-workers having massive health complications that have hospitalized her indefinitely. Still, her loss is my gain, and I'm fortunate it came along when it did. The dilemma is that I don't know whether I'm going to want it, anymore, once Cynthia comes back to Philadelphia from her vacation home. I find sitting at this desk and waiting for nothing to be so tedious already, mitigated now only by the fact that I know I have nothing and nobody to go home to but a computer screen and cigarettes. I feel very much the 21st-century Chuck Bukowski, which I'd delight in if not for the fact that Bukowski was a miserable fuck who died alone with a rotted liver, mourned only for his brilliance. But I am not brilliant. I am one of the small, damn me, the Meager, and no legacy stretches out before me today. I wonder how guys like Bukowski even found time to write and pay their rent. Different time, different place. Fuck the landlord and her hounds.

      I'm trying to go back to school. I want to. I've wanted to for a while. I'm stuck here for a while, I figure, so I may as well get to work. I've been asking for some advice from people who know of such things, getting the goods, figuring out what I can apply for. It's all pretty unreasonable. When I went to college in California in 1998, it was twenty bucks a credit hour. Here in Philly, it's three-hundred and forty. Even for residents, it's one-seventy per credit hour. Fucking madness, I tell you. If that's what the price of higher education is, it's no wonder the streets are littered with gutter slime who can barely speak English and think "irony" is how a shirt feels after you press it. The other community colleges in the surrounding counties - Bucks, Montgomery, Reading - are cheaper, albeit not by a lot, which means that I'm probably going to start getting my ducks in a row now and prepare for a move to whichever county I'll be going to school in, for the fall. Happily, my lease will be expiring, so with adequate preparation I should be able to move and start school almost immediately. Away from this city that I hope never to return to. I'll have to see things like the Mutter Museum and Liberty Hall before I move, because I'm leaving this city like fucking Lot, man. No turning back. Once my shoulders are turned toward the river, Philadelphia shall exist in my mind as nothing more than a very slow knot of intersecting freeways.

      There's no work in this town. Someone online I spoke to last week who had lived in this area all it's life told me that anybody who'd been here for a week could see it was "a city in decline". He was right. Everything in this city is falling apart, crushed under the onerous weight of its own collective despair. If cities had spirits, if they were anthropomorphized, Philadelphia would be an old man with a shabby beard in what once passed as a suit, now torn to bits, bled upon, shat upon, vomited upon, filthy with grease and scents. He was once young and powerful, and took on the world. And won. Adulthood came and he built an empire, an empire of ideology, a community of peers. He probably fancied himself Charlemagne. And then, one day, the bottom fell out. Decades of neglect, of coasting on his past accomplishments had made him complacent, so much so that he couldn't even feel the rope go taught around his porcine neck the night he was bound and displaced, his home overtaken by vandals. Broken, he has turned to the streets, wandering them, wondering what happened to his little empire and the fine people in it. He has become haggard and hard, a thing of survival and teeth and fingernails. Tonight, he clutches his chest in the cold, his breathing ragged as he futilely tries to keep his blood within him. It's all for naught: the knife caught his lung, and the night is bitter cold. All that remains is to see whether he'll bleed out, freeze, or his lungs will collapse and let loose one final, crooked breath. The city council would have you believe that this city is a historic epicenter, akin to American royalty: while getting shanked and having your wallet stolen by a member of the teeming underclass may bear the unmistakable pangs of historic verisimilitude, I don't think it's quite what their ad campaign had in mind.
      I guess what I'm trying to say is that finding work in this area is really tough. I'm still on it, but the holidays are a bad time to be looking for work. Everybody I'm petitioning for work is home with their families, on vacation, elsewhere. They are not poring over resumes on December 31st. I can only hope that changes with the new year.

      Naturally, it wouldn't be the New Year without what is not a tradition, albeit one I fear I won't be able to reprise: having confessed to her parents that she's seeing me, Cynthia has - again - been forbidden from seeing me. This happened last on January 9th, so they're ahead by about a week, this year. Last year, the nine or ten months that I couldn't even speak to Cynthia were hell. I will not suffer through that again. It doesn't seem she will, either. She is standing firm that she won't leave me. I can only imagine how difficult this must be for her.
      This is a very hard subject for me. On the one hand, I get where they're coming from. I'm a threat to their primacy in her life. It's not hard to imagine that a guy like me getting together with a girl like her carries only the worst of intentions. I'd assume it, too. I'm not here to throw a wedge between she and her parents, though. I wish they'd take the time to get to know me: I think they'd be...perhaps not impressed, but at least their fears would be somewhat allayed. That's the other side of this. I get where her parents are coming from. But I wish they understood that we're on the same side, here. We all just want to see the girl happy and successful. They just think I stand in the way of that. Hopefully, well, things will change with time. All I can do for now is try and show them I'm an upright guy and hope that eventually they tick on to the fact that I'm not Ba'alzebub made flesh come to tempt their daughter away.

      I really love her, is the fucking thing.

      Apparently, my status as an atheist was some matter of debate. It's not the first time I've had that argument brought to the table against me, to the point that it's gone past tiresome and almost become funny. I wonder who knows the Bible better: protesting parents, or atheist boyfriend? I've often gotten a good chuckle out of the idea that if Christianity was something that could be professed based on scholarly acumen and not some immeasurable quanta of totally self-professed "faith", I'd be a vastly better Christian than most people I've ever met. Vastly. They say there are no atheists in foxholes, and that's a lie. In fact, I'd bet what little cash I have that there are more atheists in foxholes than there are Christians who are so eager to see the Kingdom of Heaven they'd laugh at a gun pointed to their dome. Funny how the Big Guy in the Sky seems to go right out the window when one's life is on the line. Faith in action, folks. Please, don't fucking kill me.

      One vile fucking task after another. May 2008 be better than 2007, for all of us.

"Cause there's no use crying over every mistake / You just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake"
Clash Swords With Me: 4 Battle Scars - Attack!.

Monday, November 26th, 2007

Subject:Spite Day
Time:2:04 am.
      Been a while.

      Not much to report, but I figured it was worth elaborating on a few recent developments, so here goes. This'll probably be brief, since I've got one mother of a headache.

      I had a good Halloween. I have so few. The last Halloween I had off, I was in Venice, two years ago. I put on a Carnivale mask and wandered the streets looking for lust personified, in the form of cold, shivering sex or fists raised triumphantly against anybody and barking at the autumn moon. I didn't find it. I went to Harry's Bar, like Hemingway would have, and I sat for an hour or two in my overcoat before mazing my way back to my hostel, stealing a ride on the water taxi halfway along. I went back into my room and killed a dozen mosquitoes before loneliness and self-hatred sang me to sleep like a funeral dirge, and not long after I was on my way to Ferrara, Rome, Naples, far away from the city I loved so badly but poisened my blood so thoroughly with despair.
      This year was better. I normally work during what is my favorite holiday, so I was really amped to do something this year. And Halloween is my favorite holiday, though not for the most conventional reasons. As boastful as it sounds, I do not scare easily. I certainly feel a great deal of pressure, I worry and fret about the future, but raw terror is an emotion that has been alien to me for many years. Being a materialist, I know there are no ghosts out to get me, no creatures to hunt me. Not even a God to punish me. So fear, or at least fear of the unknown, is largely outside the compass of my emotions. But on Halloween, some people consider it their duty to make a valid attempt, and even if it doesn't work in practice, I greatly appreciate the attempt. If nothing else, I derive an extreme amount of joy from playing the frighteners' games, especially so if I'm with others.
      This year, on Halloween, myself, Cyn, her roommate Jaine, and their classmates Zach and Stephenson, piled into a car and drove out to see a showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It was a good time. I didn't have time for a proper costume, but I got suitably odd for the RHPS, and happily, the girlfriend and her roommate were doing their deliciously skanky best to dress to theme. Oh, Halloween, how I love what you do for the female sex... The following evening, the girlfriend and her two roommates, Jaine and Danielle, went to a local haunted house attraction park, where I got to play along with the actors trying to scare us. It, too, was a fantastic time, and I had a lot of sport with trying to lose Cyn and Jaine in order to leave them terrified (it worked plenty of times, mind you). All told, I had a really good time. I haven't had so much fun in awhile, and it was really cool, to the point that I'm depressingly nostalgic for a short three weeks ago.

      That aside. I'm still looking for a new job, as always. I've enlisted myself in a handful of professional staffing agencies who have promised to have me a suitable new job in no more than two weeks (their time is up tomorrow morning), and I've applied for jobs as a Travel Agent and Security Supervisor. Apparently, the last five years of security work on my resume seem to make me ill-suited to office work, by the reckoning of my would-be employers, despite the fact that the bulk of security work is filing reports, filling out forms, doing payroll... Plus ca change, non?

Spite Day; For the Rest of Us
      As one might expect, I didn't really celebrate Thanksgiving in any meaningful sense. I didn't have to work (for a change), but I didn't really have anywhere to go, either. That isn't anybody's fault, it's just how it went down. In light of this, as I found myself alone, at home, on the afternoon of the holiday itself, I decided to get up and do something other than just arse it all night. So I invented Spite Day, a celebration for those who haven't a community to get together and gorge with, a holiday for those whom the only thanks they have to give are for the sweat of their own brows.

      Traditionally, Spite Day is celebrated alone, though I suppose you could bring a fellow commiserator, if you so desire. All you really need to celebrate Spite Day is a good book and a diner that's open on holidays, and all you have to do to celebrate Spite Day is to gather said book and go to said diner, whereupon you order whatever the fuck you goddamn well please (because it's your goddamn money, and you fucking earned it), sit, read, and eat. This year's sacrament was taken with copious black coffee and a steady stream of cigarettes (highly recommended together, should such be your inclination and legality of your locale permitting), broken up only by the meal itself, which, this year, was prime rib with stuffed mushrooms, salad, bread, soup, all that shit. I sat and read Henry Rollins' Solipsist and then came home breathing fire and ready to kick someone's head in. So all told, I had a pretty good Spite Day.

      As I was reading that evening, I chanced across an entry that I thought spoke a great deal to my current situation, and because I'm in the mood, I thought I'd quote it here:
      "Autumn is here and the early darkness is depressing I know. Autumn is here and you feel absolutely no interest in going on. Ending your life seems like the best way to deal with the boredom and savagery that this urban failure brings upon you. It's this season that can save you if you let it. Hail the oncoming winter weather. Soon it will be silent and cold. The nights will be safe and frozen. Germ free. Humans are toxic but easier to take in this weather. Their smell is down somewhat. Don't end your life in a dimly lit room. Don't let the dead end of your job destroy you. The cold air is good for you. Walking alone is one of the best breaks you ever get. No one to have to put up with. No one to disturb your thoughts. No one to have to come home to. If you need company, you can always play an Art Tatum record. Fall is coming and the idiots are back in the suburbs they crawled out of on their insect legs. The wood burning fires are filling the night air, making it worth sticking around for. In defense of fall weather! Tip: Don't blow your brains out. Sleep is better in cold weather. Autumn is the time when a good book is a better friend than your panicked urban compressionist. Falling leaves and grey sky are the time of the greats; Poe and Dostoyevsky come alive on cold nights. Raskolnikov's madness will speak clearly to you. Knut Hamsun's character, Nagel, was always a cold weather man. Company is nice, but only if they keep their mouths shut and leave when you want them to. And since they never do, let's leave them out of this. The summer leaves me feeling old and wrong. It's only in the Autumn where I can take breaths that make me want to take more breaths. This is important. I know that most of the things I am trying tgo do will end in total failure and disappointment. I know I will have a later life that will be bitter and full of regret. I know that many of the people I worked hard to please will let me down, as I will eventually let them down. I see that no matter what I do, I will always be solitary and somewhat tragic. But I will always enjoy the grey solemn solitude of this season that grows darker and colder, day by day. The season that seduces and prepares me for the greatest season of them all. Winter. The season of heroes and gods."
Clash Swords With Me: 5 Battle Scars - Attack!.

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

Subject:Not a Bad Way to Spend Oblivion
Time:8:57 pm.
      Normally wouldn't bother with these, but this one was a little too good to pass up.

What kind of God are you?
Favourite Color
You earthly time was spent Raining torrents of blood while sailing over the prostrate masses in an iron chariot
Your throne is A towering onyx chair, reflecting perpetual moonlight, adorned with the skulls of the vanquished
You wear The inky cloak of the universe
Your Godly superpower is Complete dominance and sovereignty over time and space and the infallible right to do with both as you please
This Quiz by pelagicboreas - Taken 731 Times.

      No. No, that sounds about right, actually.
Clash Swords With Me: Attack!.

Friday, April 20th, 2007

Subject:You Can Swallow a Pint of Blood Before You Get Sick
Time:8:53 am.
      Getting all four of my wisdom teeth yanked in about an hour. They're putting me under IV sedation. I am not happy with this. I don't like the idea of being forced to sleep with a provisional guarantee of waking up. Yeah, I know, this is ridiculously routine. I still don't like it.
Clash Swords With Me: 4 Battle Scars - Attack!.

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

Subject:Given Mich Du Recipezen!
Time:10:42 am.
      As none of you know, Yr. Stalwart Protagonist has been trying to eat healthier, of late. The problem is that I realized, somewhere along the way, that I was eating too much crap, and I've noticed my health suffering for it in small ways. Nothing dramatic, just a loss of energy and the like. I definitely put on my winter coat, and it's time to start shedding. Besides, no police force nor any branch of the service is going to take my buterball ass as is. And while I make the half-hearted attempt at getting in shape every now and again, I tend to peter off after a short while, basically because I hate pretending I care about vigorous exercise, which bores the shit out of me. But! I'm really going to start trying to be less of a slouch and start feeling better. Part of this, of course, is eating better, which is the kick I've been on for the last couple weeks, and the reason I'm composing this post.

      What I'm asking for from you, dear readers, are your recipes. If you have anything you think I might enjoy, I'd really like to hear about it. I'm not a picky eater and I'll try most anything I haven't before, so I'll be a pretty easy sell. Specifically, what I'm looking for are dishes that:
- can be prepared from cupboard to plate in <30 min.
- could in some broad sense be considered 'healthy' (i.e., no bacon-wrapped beef medallions in cheese sauce)
- preferably high in vitamins and use chiefly whole (or at least basic) ingredients
      I'm not a vegetarian, but I won't rule out vegetarian cooking. I like ethnic food, so hit me with whatever you think might be interesting. My one warning, before I hurt anybody's feelings, is that I don't do meat subbies. Sorry. If a dish calls for tofu, I will replace with chicken, fish, beef, lamb, pork, or whatever carcass I feel like consuming that evening.
      Also, hopefully, nothing too elaborate. My kitchen is a wasteland populated with tumbleweeds of only the most basic kitchen utensils. I've got one knife, one pan, one pot, and I'm pretty sure I've only got one fork. So if something requires a bamboo steamer or a cast-iron wok or a whisk made from the petrified hair of an extinct species of horse or something, I'm pretty much SOL. To give you an idea of the depth of desperation I'm talking about here, it occurred to me this morning that I did not have the proper dishes to prepare fuckin' falafel. What the hell am I going to eat with my hummus now?

      Anyway, thanks in advance, all. I'd post up my own recipes, but I doubt there's anything innovative in my supply. Whole wheat fettuccine + pesto + hot sausage + shiitake mushrooms = Shiitake and Sausage Pesto on Whole Wheat Pasta. Revelation!

      Oh, yeah. Still miss Cynthia. Life still void and without purpose. Still single. Still have no desire not to be. Kthxbye.
Clash Swords With Me: 12 Battle Scars - Attack!.

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

Time:12:13 pm.
      Some people requested that I take and post up some pictures of my scruffy, unshaven self, so here they are. This is about the best I can do for two months, though I've been shaving and trimming in that time to keep it down to a nominal (read; work friendly) growth. I don't know how long I'll keep it for.

Behold my glory!Collapse )

      Nothing much else going on. More of the same. Work-work-sleep-games-work-work-games-games-sleep-work-sleep-games-etc.-etc. Pining and watching episodes of 'Arrested Development'. I should probably be reading more. And hey, '300' comes out this Friday. Would have been six months for us.
Clash Swords With Me: 2 Battle Scars - Attack!.

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

Time:12:08 pm.
      There hasn't been a whole lot going on over here, and my mood hasn't really improved, hence, the lack of updates. I'm sure you're all sick to death of hearing about my heartbreaking girl troubles, but that's more or less the sum total of what's been going on in my life that is in any way exceptional or out of the ordinary. I spend four days a week at work basically killing time and my three days off playing video games and watching movies. It's winter, and accordingly, I am hibernating. While I'm always wary of people who see fit to label themselves with this problem or that disorder, a recent reading through Wiki tipped me to the fact that I apparently fit all the criteria of Seasonal Affective Disorder, which would explain a lot in the way of my general lethargy during the winter, especially coupled with my graveyard shift schedule.

      That aside, I've been playing Oblivion like it was the only video game in existence for weeks, devoting nearly all my free time to it. Sad, I guess, but aside from a weekly gaming session and my job, all I've really got to do with myself is either be creative or entertain myself. I should probably be spending more time on the former and less on the latter, but hey, I'm fuckin' depressed. Let me mourn in the only way that takes me mind off the hot poker of heartache that is pretty much perpetually lodged into my forehead and leave me the hell alone.

      In other news, I've begun a rather ambitious writing project with a new friend of mine named Ashley that co-features everyone's favorite misanthropic heir-apparent to Mike Hammer, Gerad 'Machina' Donighal. The work-in-progress will be posted to N! Prime when finished. In the meantime, any of you can read the current, raw text on whiffofgrape. I post that because I know none of you will read it, so there's really nothing to risk, there.

      I told myself when I started this that I wasn't going to spend more time talking about Cynthia, but I'm going to make a liar out of myself.

      The guys I work with tell me that I just need to get laid. As if that was the problem. Sometimes I wish that I was so base and atavistic, that these problems could have such simple solutions. I doubt if I was that Cynthia would have loved me in the first place, but maybe that would have been for the best. Funny how understanding and suffering always seem to go so close together. Ignorance - or in this case, being a heartless, misogynistic hound - really is bliss. I try to laugh off their idiocy, but I can only force the smile for so long. Yes, thank you, I'm not getting enough sex. Yes, it's been a while. A long, long while. That's not the problem. If that was all my problem was, it'd be not only easily solved, but I'd live a charmed existence.
      Sometimes I just want to fucking hit them. They have no idea how lucky they are. They go out and drink and get laid by someone different every week. Women are interchangeable to them, no one any better or worse or more meaningful than any other. When they date, they cheat on their girls with all the nervous regularity of compulsives and the casual ease of sociopaths, and then they show up at work to brag and boast about the stupid women they deceived or conned into bed. And these guys, they tell me "just need to get laid". They attempt consolation and ask me if I want to go out and drink and get laid with them, or they counsel me to take up with some easy girl to blow off some steam, or just move on altogether.
      I do not think any of them have ever actually loved, or even know what that is. Love isn't some cheap trinket you get to pitch away because it's no longer convenient. Love takes work, and it's dangerous, and it leaves you changed for having known it. It's sharp and it's poisonous and it's mean, and at once the most wonderful goddamn thing in the world.
      We didn't break up, is the thing. We were forced to stop seeing each other. If I were to just take up kit with somebody else, what exactly would that say about me? About her? Or what she meant to me? Clearly, if my first line of thought after losing her is to replace her, she didn't mean that much. As it stands now, I'm not even interested in anybody else. After having known her, I feel like it's all valleys from here on out. Anything less than her would be silver medal bullshit. Settling, something I've never been good at. Even if that wasn't the case, I couldn't run off and chase somebody else, not now. It would cheapen everything I felt about her to simply turn away. You don't turn your back on somebody you love just because you can't be with them.

      Still, things have been hard. We haven't spoken for many weeks, and very probably won't for still many, many more. I don't know what she's doing or if she misses me or how she even feels about this. I get only vague impressions from a handful of mutual contacts. I still want to apologize. It was never my intention to cause her grief. For now, however, my hands remain tied. What's strange is that through it all, I trust her. She told me she loved me, and I believed her, I believed that she meant it the same way I did. Maybe she'll move on. If she does, I hope it's because she finds someone who makes her happier than I did. That's all I can really hope for her, that she'll be happy. As for me, I'm neither terribly accustomed to asking for things for myself or to being happy. Maybe it's simply my lot. Anyway. Who knows.
      I miss just talking to her, you know? It's insane. I have plenty of smart friends I can talk to, but somehow, talking to her, even about the most boring academic minutiae, was always a thrill to me. We'd talk for hours just about literature or music or games. Yeah, I know, I know, you've all had that ex or that steady or whoever. I guess you'd have to really understand how I feel about people in general for this to mean anything coming from me. People I can talk to are rare. People I can stomach for hours upon hours are rarer still. It surprises me even now, upon reflection, to see how witty and sharp she was. She has a wonderful, brilliant, hungry mind, and I always respected her inquisitiveness and her reasoning, and the way she so effortlessly softened my sharper edges. She tempered and tamed me, and more than that, she made me happy. Happy. Me. I could scarcely believe it, but there it was.

      Fuck it. Some guys cheat on their girlfriends like they lived in a world devoid of consequences. And some of us get to watch while the rest of the fucking morlocks squander and take completely for granted what some of us would die for. It makes me want to laugh and puke at the same time. Maybe it's time to just enlist early.
Clash Swords With Me: 5 Battle Scars - Attack!.

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

Subject:My Comic Book Avatar
Time:12:40 am.
      I've been reading over old issues of a comic I read once upon a time called 'Blue Monday'. I stopped reading it, for the most part, because I couldn't really identify with the characters anymore, and because the writer/artist's other works (see 'Scooter Girl') made me generally disappointed. But anyway, I was reading over these comics I hadn't read in a while, and I was reminded of a character I'd forgotten. Somehow, I've become Clover's brother.


A few others...Collapse )

      That girlfriend of his looks kind of familiar, too. I miss my slag.
Clash Swords With Me: Attack!.

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

Subject:The Elephant in the Room
Time:11:14 pm.
      Well, it's been nearly three weeks now. Not getting any easier. But I guess I can talk about it.

      Some of you may know I was dating a girl named Cynthia. I didn't much talk about her around here, because after having poured my heart out over every girl I was so much as remotely interested in for a while, I just stopped talking about girls in LiveJournal. I'd always go back six months later and feel disgusted or embarrased or sad. And really, aside for a couple of back-patting "Good on ya!"s, there isn't much reason to let everyone know I've got a new girlfriend, unless something noteworthy happens.
      Well, something noteworthy happened.

      Those of you who know of Cynthia also probably know that I've got a few years on her in terms of age, and by "a few" I mean "like, eight or so". Which wouldn't be a problem, except that her age puts her very narrowly in that "still living at home with mum and da and has not yet finished high school" category wherein one must still be accountable to one's parents for their everyday dealings. Obviously, I felt some trepidation about dating a girl so young. But after having recently met a couple of girls my own age who were borderline functional and had all the intellectual depth and sharpness of a sack of wet hair, I decided that who Cynthia was - a smart, beautiful, interesting, tasteful, sharp, good-hearted, sweet - was more important than what she was - seventeen. Cynthia insisted on keeping her involvement with me a secret from her parents, for fear that they wouldn't accept the relationship. This is something that had caused me a considerable amount of unease from the beginning, but I also reckoned it wasn't my place to tell her how to deal with her parents. So we went on like this for the last few months, doing mostly a whole lot of talking on the phone and not a whole lot else, chiefly as she lives in Delaware, which is a pretty rough six-hour drive from where I live. I visited her a couple times, mostly just to spend time with her. To give you an idea of how my impropriety could have been acted upon, my roommate was with me the bulk of the time. Mostly she and I just talked, and it was enough. We fell in love.

      But as I knew in my gut would happen eventually, we were found out, and the catastrophe that followed has left me broken. Obviously, Cyn's parents didn't look favorably upon our pairing, to the extent that they forced her to break things off with me and threatened me with legal action. I'm not going to go into details about that, but suffice it to say such a threat is dubious but nevertheless frightening. If you want to discuss the matter, please do so over email or phone; and yes, I've already consulted an attorney on the matter. The order I was given was to back off, which, in the interest of not making Cynthia's life any more problematic than it already is and ensuring I remain ubiquitous enough to not seem as though I am being incompliant, I have done. I don't suppose I'm much good to anybody tied up in a morass of legislation, least of all myself. So, having been called by Cynthia at work and then being chided by her mother as a sexual predator and having my family insulted, I now spend my time futilly attempting to keep myself occupied and my mind busy. Because every time I think of her it's like a knife twisting in my heart.
      I've had messy breakups before, but this is an altogether different breed of beast. Serves me right? Maybe. I genuinely don't understand the hangup over the age disparity. My parents are thirteen years apart. My sister has dated men older than me. Neither of them seem particularly poorly-adjusted for it, nor have any of the women I've known who have dated older men, many of whom are still with those older men. I spent a lot of time before this happened in a state of conscience crisis, quizzing women of every age as to the moral or ethical rectitude of dating a girl who'd not yet graduated high school. Nobody offered condemnation. The consensus seems to be that seventeen isn't all that different from eighteen in terms of maturity. I know the experience must be different for me, but I don't recall any great difference between seventeen and eighteen, either. To be honest, I don't remember all that much difference between twenty and twenty-five. Spending that year as the IA coordinator, firing men older than my father, showed me that there really is no such thing as a "grown-up"; we really are all just making this shit up as we go along. As Henry Rollins pointed out, we never so much become men as overweight and balding boys who have become adept at shouldering responsibility. Maturity is relative to the individual, not to age. Obviously age plays a factor through one's mid- to late teens, but once a person becomes self-aware, their personal development is largely a matter of personal efficacy. And despite what her parents seem to think, Cynthia isn't immature or childish. I guess it's especially hard for parents to come to that realization. It would be for me, in their place.

      A lot of this just confuses me. To call me a pedophile must have been a reactionary expletive, because it's clearly absurd. In terms of sexual development, Cynthia is physically no more a child than my own mother. She doesn't have the body of a child. And to say that I took advantage of her or somehow tricked her into a relationship is a pretty serious insult to her: effectively, it's saying she's too stupid to know when she's being manipulated. She isn't. She doesn't have the mind of a child, either. This whole reactionary debacle also conveniently overlooks the fact that if I'm a sexual predator, I must be the most inefficient and ineffective one who ever lived: If my goal was to sleep with a teenager, you'd think I could put a little effort into finding one closer than four hundred miles away. Does nothing more than lust really give a man cause to spend twelve hours in a crappy pickup and spend money he doesn't have for a four-hour date with a girl who might let him slide into second? If all I was after was sex, I would be pretty much the biggest jackass on the planet. That aside, I must be a unique kind of predator, insofar as most aren't willing to abide his prey when she insists on remaining a virgin until her wedding day. Most, you know, predators are manipulative assholes who try to wear a person down until they break. Most of them would not reply with "That's great, because I want to marry you."
      And I do want to marry her, damn it all. That's the fuck of it. I'm in love with her. I was committed to her. I was ready to devote my life to her. I really, truly wanted to belong to her. I am in no way kidding. I was prepared to stick with this girl. Now, I haven't even spoken to her for weeks. I won't even have a chance for another seven months. And who knows what could happen between now and then? She could easily move on. Even if she doesn't, there's no guarantee she'll want me down the road. Even if she does, there's no guarantee we can make it work.
      She was exactly what I wanted in life. And no, I'm not interested in looking for another "fish" or trying to "heal" and try again. I don't want to try again. I'm sick of trying. I'm sick of failing. Am I too young to be saying this? Maybe. But loving somebody like we loved each other is rare, and in a world this rotten and mean, to forbid two people who love each other from being together over a matter of age is nothing short of tragedy. And right now, if I can't have her, I don't really much want anybody at all. I'm in love with her alone. And if this isn't love, then no man who has ever lived has ever known love.
Clash Swords With Me: 5 Battle Scars - Attack!.

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

Time:4:43 am.
      So, here it is. It's been a week. I've spent the bulk of my time trying to do anything but think, since reflection makes out to be a pretty painful experience. Not thinking about it is kind of like avoiding the elephant in the room, but the room we're talking about has one small door and solid walls. Observing the elephant, thinking on it, does nothing in the way of getting it out of the goddamn room. So I'm trying to think about the elephant in the room as little as possible, and to that end I've mostly been playing video games and reading. People around me have noticed the change in temperament. It's hard to maintain a sunny disposition, considering. I've been an absolute fuck to deal with at work, and these long hours of quiet aren't helping. I pray for catastrophe, if only to occupy my senses.

      I haven't been able to speak to anybody without being forced for a while. Something about the tempo and tone of my voice just grinds conversations to a halt. They know I don't want to talk. But it isn't all bad all the time. Trying to keep busy. Work's terrible for that. I want to take more days off just so I can sleep. "I love to sleep. My life kind of tends to fall apart when I'm awake, y'know?" Damn you for being so right about everything, Hemingway. Fuck. I wish I could apologize, but I can't even do that. Not that it would do much good. Apologies.

      This is going to last. I can feel it. This sickness is making a home in my gut and it's going to tear me apart. I'll live.
Clash Swords With Me: 1 Battle Scars - Attack!.

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

Time:12:57 am.
      For posterity.

      Today officially marks the worst day of my life. Worse than losing a friend or any lover I could think of. Worse than breaking my bones or any disease or the most bizarre culmination of unhappy events. More than any lie or betrayal. I feel like I've shut off. I can't cry. I can't hit. I can't even feel. Like my mind has shunted off feeling in order to preserve itself. Like I'm in shock.

      I guess this means a lot of people got their wish. Guess it means I'm eyeball-deep in shit, which, if you know me, is pretty par for course. Guess it means I'm done for a while. I don't know when I'll write again. If I'll write again. If I'm going to do much of anything for a long goddamn time.

      I think I need to be by myself for a while. People in general tend to complicate things. I haven't been spending enough time getting my own ship in order. I'm done with friends and meeting new people for a while. A long while. I don't much think I could bear company right now, anyway.

      I don't want to talk about it. So if you're thinking about calling me so you can force me to do so, stuff it. I'm not interested.

      So that's it. I'm done. I got nothing else to say.
Clash Swords With Me: 7 Battle Scars - Attack!.

Monday, December 25th, 2006

Subject:Happy Fuckin' Christmas
Time:9:56 am.
Gift of the Magi 2006

      Still alive. Not posting because there's nothing worth writing. Haven't abandoned LiveJournal. Haven't turned over to MySpace. Just being a recluse. If you're reading this, you know I care enough about you to not want to never speak to you again, so don't take my silence as indication of apathy regarding our relationship. I've just got a lot of shit on my plate and little time or patience for niceties.

      All supermarkets are closed today, and to my great regret, this means there will be no Christmas Nachos. Another tradition sacrificed on the altar of the sanctimonious American religious siesta. Damn you, religious blue laws. Ah, well. Feliz Navidad.
Clash Swords With Me: 4 Battle Scars - Attack!.

Friday, November 17th, 2006

Subject:Update on Fantasy Congress
Time:11:56 pm.
      Some of you have already - or may - become involved in my Fantasy Congress League, Natural Selection. It was pointed out to me today a valuable resource in determining who best to put on your respective teams, and in a far more utilitarian sense, helps you, voters, figure out exactly who you do support with clear and concise batteries of information. You can go to Project Vote Smart and look up politicos both by name and by your geographical region. Contained in each profile are lists of voting records, issue statements, education, religion, etc. Use it.
Clash Swords With Me: 1 Battle Scars - Attack!.

Subject:Just Wow, Man
Time:11:21 pm.
You scored as Friedrich Nietzsche. Well you're an egotistical maniac, and you are so very iconoclastic that you probably are currently lost in a post-modern Jupiter, I mean jungle of self-definition.

Don't let it get you down though, someday, through a willful onslaught of reinterpretation of dated forms and ideas, you will strike on something that passes as remotely new, and people WILL be into it on the basis of how hip it is alone. Also, the average espresso drinker looks up to you.


Friedrich Nietzsche


Adolf Hitler


Dante Alighieri


Jesus Christ


Miyamoto Musashi


Steven Morrissey


Sigmund Freud


Stephen Hawking


C.G. Jung


O.J. Simpson


Elvis Presley


Charles Manson


Hugh Hefner


Mother Teresa


What Pseudo Historical Figure Best Suits You?
created with QuizFarm.com

      Closer to Jesus H. Fuckin' Christ than I am to Miyamoto Musashi. And closer to Hitler than I am to anybody but Nietzsche. Fanfuckingtastic.

      Also, I swear to Nietzsche, no fudging this one. Two more:

Another badass quiz from eSPIN-the-Bottle...

How Will You Die?

MY RESULT:Silent But Deadly Ninjas

Treat the world with aggression, and the world will be just as aggressive to you - in the form of ninjas.

Don’t wanna be killed? Ward off your death as long as possible by knowing your four D’s of ninja defense: destructive weapons, dazzling displays, disorienting your opponents, and digging a hole in the ground and hoping they can’t find you.

Take This Quiz!

      Death by ninja. Somehow I knew it would come to that.

You are The Devil

Materiality. Material Force. Material temptation; sometimes obsession

The Devil is often a great card for business success; hard work and ambition.

Perhaps the most misunderstood of all the major arcana, the Devil is not really "Satan" at all, but Pan the half-goat nature god and/or Dionysius. These are gods of pleasure and abandon, of wild behavior and unbridled desires. This is a card about ambitions; it is also synonymous with temptation and addiction. On the flip side, however, the card can be a warning to someone who is too restrained, someone who never allows themselves to get passionate or messy or wild - or ambitious. This, too, is a form of enslavement. As a person, the Devil can stand for a man of money or erotic power, aggressive, controlling, or just persuasive. This is not to say a bad man, but certainly a powerful man who is hard to resist. The important thing is to remember that any chain is freely worn. In most cases, you are enslaved only because you allow it.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

      No surprises, there.
Clash Swords With Me: 2 Battle Scars - Attack!.

Wednesday, November 15th, 2006

Subject:Fantasy Congress
Time:1:45 am.
      Thanks to my meta-news site of choice, FARK, I've discovered yet another time-consuming web game that I thought some of you might enjoy.

      The game is Fantasy Congress. Players choose a series of 12 Representatives and 4 Senators to make up their "team" and then accrue points based on the real-life actions of the congressional members they've chosen. It's basically fantasy football for the politically-inclined.
      An interesting side-effect of playing this game thus far is that I have done a lot of research into the various congressmen in the way of discovering who I want on my "team"; for me, this project is less about putting together the most point-rich group than it is putting together a cohesive team of people who share my values and will enact policy I agree with. People I would vote for and support. To that end, it is doing a spectacular job of putting me in touch with the various members of Congress. Each entry even links back to the CM's personal page, which is very helpful in researching potential candidates.

      I've created my own League for the game, so as to isolate anybody I know who might be interested in playing the game. Already there has been some interest expressed, and the League will very likely be starting once I've reached six to eight players with filled rosters, after which I'll switch the fucker on and we'll see who floats. If you're interested in joining the League I've started and competing against me and my pals, the League name is Natural Selection, and the password to get in is darwin. Friends and friends-of-friends welcome; the threshold is 100 per League.
Clash Swords With Me: 1 Battle Scars - Attack!.

LiveJournal for Seph, the Paladin of Atheism.

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