Taking, Making, Giving: a Shit

So it’s 10 o’clock. I got off of work a mere 4 hours ago. I ate, went to one coffeeshop, found no seating there, went to another coffeeshop, again found no seating, bought a cup to go, and went home. Three hours later, I have fuckall to show for it. WTF. What’d I do tonight? I read some myspace (for the first time in 2 weeks), I played two rounds of Unreal Tournament, and that’s it. WTF.

I’m in a crisis, folks. I don’t know what to do with myself. Tonight’s restlessness is but a symptom of a growing problem I’m facing with the concept that, at age 35, I’m wasting my life on useless, wandering, meandering pursuits that will neither benefit me nor mankind in the least. I’m wasting my time. Is that what life’s all about, or is there more? I mean, I leave work, find a fast food place to eat, and then either go home and mope (and do nothing productive) or I go to a coffeeshop and sit there, laptop open, mouth agape, mind blank, and do nothing productive. It’s like Where do I begin? I have so much stuff that I want to do. So much I want to say, to share, to experience and I do nothing about it. Just hold it in. I’m currently, physically, dealing with a case of diarrhea, but I feel that it’s my life that needs to take a shit.

I’m giving in to that part of my instinct that’s a scared little animal. I’m afraid to express. Fuck sakes, it takes me 5 minutes to gather my volition to write an email to my manager at work. It takes half an hour to decide on calling someone. Shit, it’s been years since I asked anyone out (it failed, naturally). So what the hell? If I were a bird whose species relied on crowding onto a rocky cliff face to build a nest, I would have no offspring because I don’t want to play the game. I don’t want to fight for my piece of dirt. I enjoy crowds when I can sail through them anonymously, but when something’s at stake — my life, my property, my status — I want nothing of it. I’d rather starve and let those animals fight like dogs over their precious piece of meat. In a large enough population, this behavior would be more apparent. Maybe that loner nature is necessary to cause me to seek resources elsewhere. I don’t know; there are 12 answers, and they’re all correct. I’m such a fool.

Too Tired for Idealism

Listening to Sophie & Ives’ song “Awaken”. Fucking phenomenal. Product of a transoceanic love affair between two artists, an american man and a New Zealand woman. An impossible love affair made possible by the internet. The hunger of the lyrics, and embrace of the music. Fuck. This is why I love the net; this kind of stuff exists. This is how I pictured the net in the idealism of my mid-20’s, a scant decade ago.

I dug out my boxes of floppies. Decided that since I have a lot of disk space I should probably backup those dusty pieces of yesteryear onto something a little more modern. Floppies and cdroms are poor mediums for long-term archival. Took two evenings, but I got through everything. Sorted and categorized everything into driver disks, boot disks, and important data. Backed up what I felt important. Found three floppies that contained all of the data I backed up from my three VAX accounts on my last week in school, December ’95. Every worthwhile email, every source code file, every text file, every configuration file. It’s all there.

Found a philosophical op-ed piece I wrote in September ’95 in the VAX lab. Forgot that I wrote that beast. Some generic 20-something blag about “This is our/your life, this is our/your world. Take it, use it, live it!” I obviously had some high hopes about the future although I was in the midst of failing miserably in my own schooling. Had no money for books; was dropping out of classes one by one; was working a night job and distancing myself from the very reason why I was in school, and for what? Some idealistic zeal that I just couldn’t shake even after leaving the religious environment which spawned it.

Yet there I was; writing about how we may come from chaos and shackles but through hope, through grasping onto the Now, through embracing new things (like the Internet), we may liberate ourselves and live the grand life we have all imagined. It’s apparent to me, in hindsight, that I had some obviously unresolved existential issues (still do). But the heart was still there: the desire to connect with others, to reach out, trade strength with people “out there” to build for ourselves a better world. Ten years later, a slim glint of that hope still exists in me, but to be perfectly honest, I’m too tired for idealism.

I’ve spun other yarns over the years about the salvation achieved by friends and strangers reaching out and offering kind words, helpful life advice, providing solace to those desolate and of ill psyche. Yarns about how we’re all on this great worldwide network and that it’s our Tomorrow. But the past six years have tought me, if anything, that such a dream cannot, and never will, be. We have forum users calling each other fags. Image boards are waging war on each other. A genre of websites has spawned that use other site’s content in order to serve their own share of the advertising market. It’s all money and marketshare now. Genuity is out with yesterday’s newspaper, seen as a weakness and as source material for someone else’s website.

I thought anonymity would save us; but it has doomed us to partisan bickering, flames, and trolls. It’s discouraging; gives me reason to not post anything on my blog.

Too Much Life

Sometimes I just want to click off. Existential angst of late. I’ve had the desire to formulate some kind of journal entry, but as things are going, it takes too much work and energy to do so. I’ve had so much Life coming at me at once, there’s not enough energy or will to put the words together. Hence my usual silence. Seriously. Too much of Life.

Big fires to put out, little fires to put out. So scattered, all over the place, bunched up in little notes and to-do lists. So concerned with forgetting to do something that I write it down, make a note, and then I fail to remember. Sometimes I fail to actually attempt to do what’s on the list.

To-Do lists are the tool of the devil. Make a note of that.

I’m looking for another car. It’s that season again, and now that I commute 25+ miles a day my Mirage is failing sadly. The increased smoke is drawing attention, and there’s an aweful lot of cops on the road. Was looking at a Honda Civic: 2002, 130k miles, EX trim package with power everything and a sunroof, stickshift, 4-door. Everything I wanted in a car for $7,000. I didn’t move soon enough; the dealer jacked the price up another thousand. Fuck that. My search passively continues.

I am currently digesting the first season of Battlestar Gallactica (the remake). I wish I had been old enough to follow the plot of the original, but I was in 2nd grade; all I cared about was the kid and his creepy robot monkeydog. I will tell you this much about the new show: I am hooked. Damn you all to hell, I am hooked. This is the most I’ve ever seen Edward James Olmos speak, and he’s perfect for the part.

You should know what kinds of assholes I share my apartment complex with. Monday night, the jackasses downstairs decided to crank their music loud enough that my floor was vibrating. So, I did what any angry neighbor would do: I kicked the floor. Expectedly, they turned it down…and then proceeded to agressively slam their ceiling with whatever they had. I fully expected them to start fucking with me; I don’t care so much about breaking and entering now that Texas has the Castle Law, I’m worried about them doing something stupid to my car, to the plants in front of my apartment. People can be that trivial.

I hate apartments. Keep thinking about moving out.

Found out there’s a hiring freeze at my job which is expected to last a while. Even the permanent employees are required to burn off some of their vacation time over the holidays; mandatory closure as a cost-cutting measure. Last time I saw that was 2001, during the dotcom crash; I was contracting at Motorola and after the layoffs of unimportant staff, they had each department take one week off. Shortly afterwards, Motorola sold its Austin campuses to its spinoff company Freescale. I don’t see much logic in mandatory closure; I guess it saves energy and infrastructure costs and requires employees (most of them salary, mind you) to spend their vacation hours instead of acrue them. But you lose so much time during the ramp down and ramp up periods after the closure. How to Shoot Yourself in the Foot, 2.0.

Ruby On Rails made me her bitch tonight. She spanked my ass hard with an important lesson. I’ve had this mind-crushing problem with trying to build a test harness for one of my model classes. I set the record attribute, try to save, and my missing-attribute validation kicks in. I know I fucking set that attribute, so why’s it not passing validation? Here’s the lesson: ActiveRecord uses automatically-created accessor methods to set/get the values of a database record. What was I doing? I was trying to use an ActiveRecord instance as a hash with special powers. That’s wrong, wrong, wrong. When I go “person[:password] = ‘secretpass'”, I’m setting something in a hash somewhere that AR is not paying attention to. I’m really supposed to go: “person.password = ‘secretpass'”. What a dumbass. So two weeks of frustrated freetime were spent debugging an issue that was all my own fault.

– I should call my mother some time. It’s been a while.
– I need to take a shower before bed.
– I should go into work early tomorrow.
– I need to start using my bicycle more; I paid so much for it, and I’m so out of shape.
– I need to pick up some antacids.
– I have a dentist appointment next month.
– I now have 1.5Gigs of ram in my laptop. I can play games again, but I need to make space.
– I have so much more to do with my Rails project, it’s unreal.
– I need new shoes
– I should get a haircut some time soon
– I’ve got to put all this on my to-do list

Crying for the Weekend

So this is the beginning of the weekend. I’m already depressed. I get in a down funk every weekend, and I hate this. My job is the only thing that defines who I am, and I fear my job. I’ve either forgotten what to do on my own free time or I remember but don’t want to do it; don’t want to relax and reconnect with people.

Yeah, I’ve been seriously withdrawn from society lately; no big news to you, I’m sure. Just can’t get comfortable with anybody else. No friends, therefore no society. So fucking paranoid, it’s sick. I’m leaving incredible parties after 40 minutes. I’m walking out of rooms and going away instead of speaking my mind. I’m standing there for 3 minutes waiting for someone to interrupt their conversation with someone else to see what I want; instead, I should be interjecting, making my business, and letting them continue instead of standing like a conversation leech. So afraid of people.

If you see me out in public, give me a hug or something. I need more of that shit.


This weekend has been absolutely abysmal. The air conditioner in my apartment died a wimpering death on friday afternoon. I got home from work and walked into the sauna that was my place of residence. Inside thermometer read 92F. I was livid. My roomate and I have been around with our landlord for years about this stupid air conditioner. The amount of money spent on all the service calls could’ve gotten a top-notch compressor, but that’s our landlord. Always out for the bottom line.

I called the landlord on saturday morning to verify that my roomate called the afternoon before. He answered and we had a chat about the situation. Said that the A/C service company doesn’t like to answer the phones after 5pm on Friday. His words reeked of bullshit to me; he didn’t want to pay weekend emergency rates, that’s what the truth really is. Said he would call at 8am monday. He had no interest in taking care of us, his 5-year residents of this complex.

I’m serious when I say we better have somebody out tomorrow to fix this and leave with a fully-functional air conditioning system, because this is shit. Complete shit. For two days my apartment has been in the 90’s…it’s supposed to be 74. No reason for making us live in this hell any further.

But we’re trying to deal with it the best we can. We have two box fans and three portables, but it’s still not enough to move the volume of hot air in our house, not enough to dilute it with tepid outside air. I was able to keep the inside temp in certain areas at parity with the outside temp of 92F yesterday — which is commendable. All those years of living in the damn projects with no A/C taught me good enough, I guess.

I’ve had no good sleep for the past two nights and I’ve got a ragged edge because of that. Doing what I can; I have a box fan in my bedroom window above the head of my bed. There’s a dish towel clothespinned to the bottom half of it to help deflect air down to my bed. It helps, mostly. Wake up in the middle of the night to cover up. But I’m still sticky with the humidity. No A/C to dry the air. Taking two cold showers a day now; afternoon and bedtime. Wearing almost nothing, and it’s still horrible. Can’t lay down, can’t sit, can’t recline…there’s no escape but to not be at home.

I had left work friday fully expecting to have a chilled-out, laid back, casual weekend. Thanks to ancient equipment and an uncaring landlord, that has been destroyed. I am so angry.

Update: The A/C repairman arrived around noon on Monday. He had a replacement fan motor in his van and was done with his work in 20 minutes. TWENTY MINUTES, and my damn landlord made us suffer the whole fucking weekend.