Monthly Archives: January 2004

The Antisocialist Manifesto

If anyone has been wondering, I have been going through some pretty drastic changes lately. I won’t go into detail, but the changes are deep, far-reaching, and life-changing. And I’m not at all in a good mood. And I’m not dealing well with the world. And I won’t be a part of the world for a while because:

I hate people.

As much as I love them, as much as I need them in my life, right now, I hate almost everyone. It’s bothersome to keep up with them. Too much effort to listen, to keep in touch, to pay attention, to chase them. I don’t get it. Can’t get it. Can’t get all the information, the data, to keep up. In the broad sense of things, I’ve reached sensory overload. I had to leave Mojo’s earlier because it was too crowded, too noisy, too irritating. Too many people, not enough me.

I hate people.

Something happened in my head about three weeks ago, and I can’t pin it down. It just went *click* and suddenly I’m testy, disinterested, short-tempered, unhappy, uncaring. I don’t get it. I want to care, I want to be happy, but it’s just not working. I don’t want to look at anyone, especially in the face, the eyes. I tend to look away when I talk to someone. Don’t want to connect. As much as I want the community of people around me, I don’t want anything to do with them. Don’t want to expose myself. Don’t want to trust. Not anymore. Not now.

I hate people.

There’s a behavior that happens in the animal kingdom. It exhibits itself in herds, schools, flocks. The sick animal tends to distance itself from the group. One theory is that this helps to protect the group, with the animal thinking of the group at large. Perhaps. Would fit in-line with most behavioral evolutionists. I have a different idea on it, though. Again, Richard Dawkins, father of the “selfish gene” theory, puts forth a better idea, and my take on it is this: the energy spent by the animal to keep appearing healthy and sexually fit, worthy of being socially viable, in-step with the group, would take energy away from getting well. To keep itself alive, it pulls away. This is the first time I’ve considered this, and it makes so much sense. And this behavior is not unique to the “lower species”, but to us, to me, as well. So therefore:

I hate people.

If I don’t make any special effort to contact you, or spend time with you, or make my way over to greet you, don’t take it personally. Do not take it personally. I hate you too.

I knew you would understand.

The Lap Has Its Warmer Again

Wednesday at work, I’m tooling along, running one of the machines. The receptionist yells for my attention, I turn around, and as she presents me with a shipping box, she says, “Is this what you’re looking for?” Shocked that I got the package two days before expected, I hungrily grab for it, clutch it close, and run, apelike, back into my little corner to covet my prize. I got my laptop back.

During lunch, I gave the thing a lookover to see what Dell actually did. They replaced the keyboard and the motherboard, but that’s all they replaced. Bastards. I was kinda pissed. When I noticed the brand new hairline cracks on the top plastic, next to the hinges, I got angry. I remembered that I saw that the service depot had improperly closed the lid before packing and shipment. The latching hook on the left edge of the lid was outside of the body of the case instead if inside the pocket where it belongs, and it was shipped like that air freight. Bad. Bad. Bad. That got me furious.

Stupid outsourced repair shops. Solectron be damned.

So, when I get home, I reinstall the hard drive, battery, and plug it up for a thorough shakeout. Everything boots fine, fine. I go one step beyond, and install the thing on the docking station to see if the NIC issue was actually fixed. Sure enough, it works! Yes! I can dock my laptop into the station and charge it while having network connectivity without screwing around with pulling cables and cards from my laptop bag. I’m happy.

But the non-replacement thing still bugged the shit out of me. So I called Dell again. After about a half-hour on the phone, the tech scheduled an on-site repair to replace the DVD-rom, the LCD panel, and, assuredly, and for the third time since my purchase of the system, a replacement for the damned top plastic. Gah.

The field tech will contact me tomorrow for repairs. Hopefully this time tomorrow night I’ll have a completely whole, functional, and beautiful system again.

Tonight, I spent quite a bit of time at Mojo’s. Got a sizable chunk of coding done while hanging out with my friends. This is good. It’s surprising to me what I can do when I sit at the right table, have two cups of coffee, and get here at an early enough hour to get some time in on the Chrontium project. I’m happy.

And, with that update, I say G’nite.

Tired and Solitary; Peace in the Fatigue

Things haven’t been peachy as of late. Last weekend’s case of sinusitis and bronchitis put me off my course, and I’ve decided to make some serious healthy-living choices. I’m doing better, but my mood this past week hasn’t been the same. More in a frump, so to speak.

Even though I’m not too happy with my job at times, I’m more serious about it now, more involved in the work there, more with my head in the game. As long as I can run the machines, as long as I can get away to work on my own, I’m happy and more confident. If it’s just me to deal with, then my world is conquered.

My laptop has been at the Dell service depot in Memphis, TN since monday, so as of now I’ve been without it for coming on a full week. I’m not too happy with the pace of service. They are replacing the motherboard in the hopes that it will fix the docking station problem I’ve been having. They’ll also replace the keyboard for the missing spacer key, the dvd-rom drive for the broken faceplate, and potentially the LCD screen for the “hotspot” that’s developing at the bottom, just above the heat-producing, backlight-powering voltage inverter.

The official word from Dell is that it’ll take 3 to 5 business days; my friends who work there told me around 2. Come tomorrow, it’ll officially be 5 days, and if Airborne Express doesn’t show up to my job tomorrow with a package for me, Dell will have hell to pay. I’ve been without my main mode of communication to my friends for a whole week, and it’s seriously bothering me. There was a reason why I asked Dell to pick it up on Monday instead of the Friday before: I didn’t want to endure a weekend without it. Well, that happened anyway. I was complaining about the issue with our secretary at work at close of the day on Friday, and she remarked, while waving hands mockingly, “Oh my, I’ll have to actually talk to people, oh no!” It may be funny to her, but it’s not to me. I do more with that machine than chat and browse. I actually write code and do work.

So, in the absence of my laptop diversion, I’ve been spending more time at home on my desktop computer, trying to write code (and being productive), and when I go out, I’m kind of reconnecting with some of my offline friends and disconnecting with my online friends. It’s disturbing that now that I’m in the “real world” I’m closing down, looking off into the distance, and not really wanting to talk at all. Right now, people can go to hell; my patience is short, and I’m not into bullshit. And, for once, I can find some kind of clarity in that. I’m not trying to “keep up” with people, I’m not trying to get into their lives or have them get into mine, I’m just going along on my own way. I pay them no mind.

And I’m writing a journal entry about it. I’m full of oxymorons.

I did treat myself yesterday, though. I took care of something I’ve been lacking and needing for a while. I made the heady resolution to go to a car audio shop, browse their selection, and I bought a new car tuner/cd player. It’s a 200 watt tuner from Dual. By happenstance, I found a unit that had everything I demanded; it fit my tight specifications: a volume knob instead of volume buttons, external line-in for my laptop or someone’s mp3 player, and adjustable bass and treble. The usability factor is seriously high on my list; I’m not going to buy a unit that required me to take my eyes off of the road when I’m driving 85mph in order to change the station or play with the equalization. So I took my new purchase, some CD’s from the apartment, and my toolbox and went to the parking lot behind my job and did the installation myself. I preferred the relative obscurity and anonymity of doing it there than the “I know where you live and park” danger of installing it in front of my less-than-trusty neighbors in my own parking lot. The install took about two hours, and it sounds great. Went on a long drive last night. I’m happy with it.

So there it is, folks. There’s my snapshot of my current life. But, as always, there’s more under the surface, more that I’m not letting on, but it’s only available for those who scratch.

The Face of Slow Change

If you’re wondering if anything happens here at Phaysis, I can say “yeah, things are happening, but I’m not letting you in on them yet.” The game Chrontium is still in development; I’ve gotten my head pretty wrapped up in the code, but there’s still a glimmer of hope that I can release it for trials within a month or three. Stay tuned.

Outside of that, I got the itch and made some small stylistic changes to the site. I am pleased that the changes required an even smaller amount of work in the stylesheets to make it happen. If it’s overkill, you can always message me in the gateway.

The rest of the site is still here since the last Phaysis news update. The “Terran and Proud” video, found in the image gallery, is still up and available for your viewing. Take a look if you want. It’s up to you. Enjoy.

What Dreams May Come

The disturbing, unsettling dreams continue.

About a week ago, I dreamed that I went back to school. Not just any school — I went back to Ouachita Baptist University, the place where I spent/wasted 5 1/2 years of my life. Yeah, Ouachita. All I remember was that I was riding in the back seat of a car, there were something like 5 other people in the car, and we were on our way from Austin to Arkadelphia. Upon arrival, I make my way to my new room on the third floor of Daniel Hall South, where I had a room at one point. The room was on the front side of the dorm. I remember looking around and seeing how everything, though familiar, had thoroughly changed. Even the students had changed into Abercrombie and Fitch models with more clothing and more praise to the Almighty. Feh.

So, I’m there in my room, it’s overstuffed with people, and I’m sitting in the doorway next to the hall talking to who? My Mojo’s friends. Weird. So both male and female friends are there with me, we’re talking and trying to keep our voices down, and one of the girls laughs a little too loudly. This gets the attention of the Resident Assistant (both of them, actually — seems OBU had started putting 2 RA’s per floor instead of 1), and they kick her out of the men’s dorm (OBU is a Baptist university, so of course there’s no in-room visitation with the opposite sex). I walk out after her, make my way to the end of the dorm and the base of the footbridge, where there’s still tons of people, and I take off towards the woods behind the dorm, first at a full run, then after not being able to run (it’s a dream, after all), I settle at a rushed jog. I wake up before I reach the woods.

That dream, scary as it was, really is just my memory kicking in. Earlier that evening, I was talking to friends online and dragging up memories of when I was in school. Later on in the evening, I was at Mojo’s, and the place in the smoking section, where I sat, was packed and crowded. These experiences and memories sat and stewed all night until *pop* they form a dream. And that dream scared the shit out of me. So, not only did I go back to school, I did so at the loss of all that I’ve come to rely on for support. I left my job, I left my car behind, I left pretty-much everything behind to go back. I didn’t even have financial aid. I just went. That disturbs me the most. Freaky, creepy.

Fast forward to this morning. This weekend, since Friday night, I’ve been sick with another case of sinusitis (the second case in three weeks), so I’ve been sleeping a lot. This morning, the final dream that carried me back to the conscious world, was another “Going back to Ouachita” dream. This one was a little different, though.

I dreamed that I went back, and this time I took my roomate Patrick with me. I knew that, like me, he had to finish some schooling and get a degree. So we went, and we were roomates there as well. This time, things were different, though. I drove the both of us there, from Austin to Arkadelphia, in my car. All our stuff was in my car (don’t ask me how). Our room, as you may guess, was also on the third floor of Daniel Hall South, front side. At first I was thinking it was an old friend’s old room, but it was actually two doors down towards the middle of the hall. And instead of getting there at dusk, like my previous dream, we got there mid-morning, so the sun was beaming through the blinds (now that I think of it, that makes no sense at all, because the front side of the dorm faces the west). Whatever.

So, the dorm is different, again. Carpeting in the hallway. Brown carpeting. The room has been renovated: the closets are gone. In their place is a set of wood-framed bunkbeds. There were no closets anymore. The whole room was carpeted as well; when I was at OBU, only a small few of the rooms in Daniel Hall had any shred of built-in carpeting, and those rooms were half-carpeted, at that. I found the new campus ethernet ports in the corner; I remembered looking for them (they didn’t exist until after I had left that school). Everything was spacious, open, and empty; 80% of the rooms were still sitting with doors open, waiting on the students to come back. There were no RA’s. Just me and Pat, and our first load of stuff.

We paid a visit to the student center, I showed him the post office, the bookstore, the grand stairwell, some of the classrooms. I remembered talking to some of the students who had made it back early. We were there, we were older than everyone, we were smokers, and we were there at Ouachita Baptist University. The sun was shining bright and warm, things looked hopeful (kinda), but we were still there, without degree plans, without financial aid, without jobs, with nothing but our stuff.

Ok, interpretation time: the shining sun in the window is from the fact that currently my bed is beneath the window of my bedroom. The window faces south, so the sun comes in every day, almost all day. It was shining bright and warm on me as I slept in today. But why Ouachita again? I don’t quite know yet, but I think it may have been related to finding a text file on my computer outlining my student loan debts and how much I owe to whom. That may have kick-started the neural memory mass again, or something of the sort. I’ve also kinda, and I haven’t thought this through completely yet, I’ve lately been thinking about driving back to Arkadelphia, for real, to go back to the place where I had my first cigarette and ceremoniously undo everything by having my last at that spot. But why was Patrick there with me? Why was I dragging his ass back to OBU? I really don’t know. If anybody would be bad fit for OBU, he would, hands-down. I really don’t know.

So, this thread totally scares me. I don’t want to go back. I can’t go back. I know I won’t go back. The thought of being surrounded by Arkansas’ finest spoiled uberyouth with high-minded religious intentions to bang each other’s brains out in motels creeps me out. The thought of having to sit through another Chapel session frightens me. The thought that I will know absolutely no one there save the few professors who still have tenure makes me freak.

Please, make it stop. Gah.