Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.

I stopped dreaming when I met you.

Because I thought my dreams had been realized,
and the pleasant but unnerving reality that had quietly eclipsed. . .

all that I had once thought. . .

. . .I wanted.

Became my only new dream. To make my reality so pleasant that it no longer made me frightened that I had let my dreams whither and die in your charms.

But I failed. and now my reality lies still, as broken as the dreams I once guarded viciously.

Did I love too much? Hold back too little?

Did I let myself see myself in the mirror one time too few, and forget who I was, and what I meant to myself?

And when I met myself, and replaced my dreams with my reality. . . was I being honest for the first time, or beginning a long string of lies?

When did failure become my modus operandi? No-one else sees me this way. Just me. Am I failing at everything, or just refusing to succeed? Did I withdraw so far because my personal and professional dreams were intertwined, and when I realized I had destroyed the one, did it terrify me that I might not be capable of the other?

I once told you that you could be whoever you chose to be. But have I frightened myself so badly now, that I will never choose to be the person I once dreamt I would become?

And all these fears and doubts still hide below the polished veneer that I have made of my bravado and self-confidence. Push through just a little, for my sake, and not your own, and you might find me cowering there.
But if you find me, will your shock at my condition drive you away, or spurn you to try and aid me? Is there any help for the helpless?

Forgive me father, for I have sinned.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004


I was going to update tonight.

I swear.

But diaryland was busy. . . and so I went and played some Counter Strike.

And you all know how that goes.

When did I become normal?

So I've been thinking about the song "Common People" because I heard William "Captain James T. Kirk" Shatner's version again a few nights ago. (It's off the new album: Has Been).

I think it's a great song, and that Shatner's version is pretty good, actually. I like it.

But the idea of not being common until you're relegated to the most basic version of humanity, the 90% that slog through their lives 'commonly', is intriguing to me, and I wonder if I'm common or not, and whether or not I want to be common.

This all comes into sharper relief at certain times. One of those times occured tonight. I ran across a couple of friends (both now married, with children) that I knew in High School and previous, when all the world was young and dinosaurs ruled the earth.

To paraphrase (my memory is a bit fuzzy) "When did you become normal? You're not supposed to be normal! You're supposed to have a fanny-pack* and tell us to grow up."

It begs the question: When did I become normal? Was it when I started to fail more often than I succeeded? Was it when I burned out? Was it when I betrayed love for temporary need? Was it when I faced the truth about who I am? Was it when I started paying attention? Or was it when I stopped?

*[editor's note: long embarrasing story--I was fashion impared]

Saturday, November 27, 2004

The Games We Play with Women.

Unrelated Red Vs. Blue Update: They knocked Church into Marathon. [voice="Guinness commercial cutout man"] Brilliant! [/voice]

Female Video Games Characters: Strength, vulnerability, and purpose.

For the record, after this paragraph ends I will make no mention of Lara Croft, or the Tomb Raider series in any way. I realize that any discussion of female video game characters is incomplete without her, but I feel that too much text has been devoted to her already, and I don't want to just add to the detritus. So in summary: Big Jugs. Brave Girl. Wohoo.

With that out of the way, let us get on to the real discussion.

I've been noticing that I am attracted to video game characters lately.

Er, that sounds pathetic. Let me back up.

I've been frustrated by how incapable of rising above their circumstances so many people are (both men and women) and fascinated by how, in many kinds of media, heros and heroines alike are so often presented as people who share a single common feature: they rise above their circumstances to succeed. I've been playing video games for years, and the Interactive Narrative Tale has always been my favorite style of game (DF2: Jedi Knight, Max Payne, Half-Life, etc.).

Within that medium there are many female characters to choose from that spark a perculiar respect and admiration (even affection) in me. If you think its odd that I spend so much time discussing the video game characters, bear in mind that they are full-fledged fictional characters and are no less valid as subjects of discussion than are Captain Ahab or Forrest Gump, then go off and surround yourself with only nonfiction books and documentaries and we'll see how long your patience holds out.

Let me talk about a couple of women in particular. The two I will refer to here are Mercury.exe and Alyx Vance. Mercury can be found in the fantastic and escapist Tron 2.0, and Alyx Vance in the gritty sci-fi thriller Half-Life 2. If you're a video gamer, even a casual one, I recommend both of these games as fantastic iterations of the First-Person-Shooter genre.

I'm mainly interested here in elaborating on that universal trait I mentioned earlier: Heroines rise above their circumstances to succeed. I'm going to discuss each character and what traits I feel she possesses that enable her to capture the spirit of a heroine and (simultaneously) make me find her attractive.

Mercury (voiced by the lovely and talented Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) is the computer-world representation of a program that you encounter on your travels after you have been 'digitized'. She's smart, sexy, and brave, and helps you escape danger and aids you in your work. Your character finds her somewhat mesmerizing, but in the end leaves her in the computer world because he knows she would be incapable of surviving in such a different environment (can you even de-digitize a non-user?). However, her maturity and knowledge of the self are evident throughout the game.

She's tough, smart, and aids you often. I find myself attracted to her single-minded focus and her professionalism. She engages in discussion with your character both to communicate vital information and to learn from you (which she obviously enjoys), but she never devolves to flirting with you, or whining about how the algorithm that controls her hips really needs to be slimmed down.

In HL2, you play ex-Theoretical/Experimental Physicist Gordon Freeman. You find that you have been reinvented as a guerrila resistance leader and find several of your old friends from the Black Mesa Research facility in the first game will meet you in this one. Alyx Vance (voiced by Merle Dandridge of the Broadway productions of Rent and Jesus Christ Superstar) is the daughter of a colleague from that facility, and a charming and able fighter. She not only plays a crucial role in several missions, she also possesses skills that your character does not, and uses them to further the cause for which you both fight without regret or apology.

Alyx earns special mention as the first character I've ever demanded should be made manifest and marry me. She simply has the opportunity to do some very cool things in the game that not only secure her place as an effective fighter, but also as a strong and compassionate leader, and a brave lady. She's portrayed as the kind of person that I could see myself sitting back and have a beer with and exchanging stories, which I believe is the hallmark of any successful fictional character.

Both of them are self-motivated, purpose oriented, brave, and willing to do what it takes to get the job done. Both of them find themselves in difficult situations facing appearantly insurmountable odds and gather the strength to aid you in your quest and see to their own desires (Alyx's need to save her father, Mercury's drive to carry out the commands of "Guest"--her User/Creator). In short, they are strong, able characters that unapologetically choose to do their best, rather than ever fearing that they might do their worst.

These are the kind of people I want to know. People who are not concerned with failure, but rather make choices based on successes. People who want to be better versions of themselves, and while not afraid to admit they aren't perfect, do not spend their time fretting about what someone at a party might think.

Alyx in particular is a very attractive girl but seems (mostly due to circumstances and upbringing, one guesses) unconcerned with her appearance in the face of greater dangers. I find that kind of subtle grasp of confidence and humility invigorating, and very different from many girls inoculated with American culture.

I have more to write on this topic (I'm going somewhere with all this, actually), but at the moment I'm getting distracted and I have some Asimov to read (Caves of Steel), so I'll complete this chain of thoughts later.

As a warning: sometime within the next few weeks I think I'll be writing a rant about women in general. Be on the lookout for it.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Something Came Up.

Sorry about the downtime.

Something Came Up.

Since I finished it tonight, I'll try to do a full update tomorrow.

I think it will be on female video game characters.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Building a suit of Armour against the cold.

Update (2:21 AM): I found something that rings true like a tuning fork for my life. Dammit, how many times has this happened to me? But I've only varied the outcome twice, and both times led to disaster and regret. So was I wiser all the other times, when I played the wiser cards? Who knows. Maybe I'll comment more on this tomorrow morning.

Scratch that prediction, I'll try and be more mature and deep later. For now, I'm tired from working (I hadn't been scheduled to work the whole evening, but my replacement didn't come in. . .sooo) and I am in a Motorcycle mindset.

Which is what I'm gonna talk about right now.

I have begun building up an anti-cold suit. A sort of new-age armour against the rigors of what passes for winter in Alabama. It began from humble roots: jeans, boots, and a leather jacket. As it evolved it has briefly incorporated sweaters and scarves, and absorbed as permanent additions several adornments including so-called 'winter gloves' and ski-pants.

As a result of this slowly evolving armour system, I am now fully covered from head-to-toe, and in fact only about 136 square centimeters (my upper face) remains covered by only a single layer (the plexiglass faceshield on the helmet). That amounts to 0.7 percent of the total surface area of my body. The minimum number of layers for the remaining 99.3 percent is 3.

The total weight of this suit is now approaching 20 lbs, and includes materials with names ranging from the mundane to the fantastic. Sure, the beginning of the list is recognizable:

Cotton, Fleex, Wool, Denim, Steel, Rubber, Leather. . .

But as I continue to catalogue, I am starting to realize that many of the names sound like the rejected name and gear suggestions for the home planet or starship of a technologically advanced alien race from a sci-fi drama:

Nylon, Polyester, Aluminium, Plexiglass, Polycaronite Blending Thermoplastic, Fiberglass, Polystyrene, Cordura, Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene.

Thermoplastic? Cordura? Polystyrene? These are not substances used in the creation of attire, these are the materials used to construct the sinister and threatening weapons of a robot population hell-bent on our destruction.

In short, I have started wearing enough winter-riding gear at night that I'm beginning to resemble a ninja-robot-assassin than a human being. After all, the only remaining visible skin is the aforementioned patch of my upperface and eyes. With that exception, everything else is covered by either space-age plastics, fabrics and textiles, or the skin of other creatures less-fortunate (and probably way colder, now) than myself.

But dammit, the ride home is nice and warm, for the most part, these days.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Returning Home.

I'm back from Macon. There will be an update tonight, I hope.

It will probably be about a culture that defines people not by who they are and what they do, but by what entertains them and what they enjoy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

I hate insomnia.

6:12 a.m.

I hate insomnia.

That is all.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Turning back the clock.

I'm going back to Macon. It's almost like going home. Perhaps this is what adopted children feel sometimes?

I am hearing rumours that everyone there is excited to see me, which I can't really figure out. I still assume that I'm not missed, I guess, even if I do miss all of them.

Today I'm cleaning my room and sorting my music collection. I should be at it a while I think. My life is being reset to some sense of. . .purpose? Too strong a word perhaps. Direction might be better.

They speak Cantonese in Hong Kong. Now I just have to make with the learning.

Who do you need?
Who do you love, when you've come undone?

Update: ABBA?! Barbarella?! WTF was I thinking when I downloaded some of this music?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Listening to Ilya. . .

"Listening to Ilya,
and pretending it doesn't make me think of the life that left me behind."

How can you need to say you're sorry to someone you've never met?

Life is a strange, wonderful and fearful place.

The muscles in my legs are developing and changing as I adapt to my new commute-method du jour. I love it, but it can be very, very cold. But I'm still young and stupid, so I don't mind.

I started looking for information about Hong Kong last night. Did you know that of the population of 6+ million, half of them are connected to the internet? Half! That's insane! I'm going to start looking for my way 'in' soon. We'll see how it works out.

In other news: I'm going back to Macon this weekend, and I'm looking forward to it. There will be awkward moments (Kid is coming to dinner theatre), but it's going to be so good, I think. Just to come back and see a handful of people that I left behind, that I still love like family.

And, uh. . . I might be going on a psuedo-date on Sunday. I'm still kindof confused about that part myself. . . but hey, everybody says The Incredibles is worth seeing, and maybe it won't work out for the worst.

Who am I kidding? It's ME, of course it'll work out for the worst.

But maybe, just maybe, it won't.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

She will reach out to me.

I went to the lake last night. I did the Shoalin Linking Fist form on a floating pier and laid on the surface of the water and gazed at the stars.

And in that moment, I knew something that I've never known before.

I will find her. And when I find her, I will know that I have been searching for her all my life. And I will know it is her for a simple reason: because she will reach out to me.

I will wait forever for that moment, if I must.

Monday, November 08, 2004

I use a kitchen timer.

An entire entry about Motorcycles and such (I know most of you will find this boring).

First, an impromptu poem:

The dewpoint here is now quite low,
and every night when I come home
I park my baby and in I go
and there she sits, she's so alone.

So she gets so cold and she gets so wet,
because when I park her, I forget:

That she needs to be wrapped up, cozy and tight,
with her own special blanket, every night.

[end poem]

Ok, the sad thing is that this is some of the best poetry I've ever written.

In any case, my lyrical dalliances aside, I do remind myself to cover my baby every night once she cools down, and I use a kitchen timer to do it. When I come in and put the helmet, jacket, and gloves away, I pull out a kitchen timer and set it for 30 minutes. 30 minutes from now when it goes off, I'll go out and cover her so she doesn't get soaked by the dew or rained on later. I'd cover her right after I parked her, but the pipes are still hot enough that they might melt the cover (nylon is funny like that) and I'd hate to do that.

Second, about pets and safety and kindness to animals.

Dogs appearantly are drawn to motorcycles even more than they are to cars, or so I hear. I'm not sure why.

But tonight after a dog tried to chase me (heh, adding a little extra juice in 5th gear means they don't keep up for long) it got me thinking about the fact that if a dog, even a small one, ran out in front of me, I would do my damndest to avoid it, both because I love animals, and because I like my skin on my body.

Allow me to enumerate the solutions and results to the pet-in-the-street problem for a person driving a car, even a small one:

1) Swerve, miss pet, continue without accident.

2) Swerve, have accident, bust self up,

3) Don't swerve, hit petg, possibly do minor or even major damage to bumper, but likely have little to no risk of accident/injury (people with MGs or Miatas who meet Great Danes are the exceptions to this generalization).

And now, the enumeration for a motorcyclist.

1) Swerve, miss dog, continue without accident.

2) Swerve, miss dog, have accident, bust self up.

3) don't swerve, hit dog, which will more-than-likely (chihuahas and Valkyrie Runes might be the exception here) cause you to have an accident anyway, and bust self up.

So for the motorcyclist, the only potentially safe solution is to safely avoid the dog. Hitting the dog is very likely going to result in a fall anyway.

For this reason, I think that anybody who doesn't love animals should be forced to ride motorcycles, because then they would never be able to consider hitting someone's pet for spite, or sheer carelessness, because their own hide would be on the line.

I think that would be a great solution. Maybe get them thinking about how the plights of pets are no less valid than the plights of their owners.

What the FUCK?!

Ok, so I'm out tonight, and I'm driving, and I'm thinking about this term I keep hearing in respect to motorcycles and navigating the streets. It's called countersteering. The most simple thing I've heard in reference to it is that you turn the wheel in one direction in order to travel in the other.

Of course, we all know that's crazy talk.

So tonight, for various reasons, I took a ride out to the lake, to relax, re-try a turn I had fallen in a couple weeks ago (see side note, below) and hang out at the dock and look at the stars and think about life. It was a great ride, and a great night for it.

But while I was in a particularly clear and straight section of country highway, I got to thinking about countersteering, and thought about that description, and decided (at 60MPH, in the dark): what the heck, why not try it?

So I pulled on the left handlebar, bringing the wheel to the left--and causing the bike to smoothly turn (except quicker, so it felt much more like a veer) to the RIGHT.


So I straighten the aim of the bike, get headed down the road again without actually winding up in some old ladie's rose bushes. And I try again(slower this time), and the bike exhibits the same behaviour. So I've been playing all night with turning the wheel one way and having the bike smoothly and effectively execute precise, controlled turns in the opposite direction. It's an awesome level of control but I can't for the life of me figure out how it does that because it makes no sense to me, physically.

So I'm going searching for a physical explanation of it now, because damn if it isn't a really cool way to make my baby move, and I love it.

Update: So I went out and searched for information on the physics of countersteering and read a few articles on the subject. Very enlightening, but not very physically clear. Appearantly the result of the turning of the handlebars is a countertorque that forces the bikes' weight to shift faster than it does merely by leaning, and this causes the bike to make smoother and more controlled tight turns. The effect of countersteering is only really felt above 15 to 20 miles per hour. In any case, I'm planning to play with it a lot more, so that my swerving ability goes up, because I want to be able to handle all the hazards that may come my way. (If my life was an RPG, a dialogue box would have just appeared that says "Your character has earned a new skill and gained a level.")

Side note: I have had two accidents in my last two vehicles, and in both cases I have later gone back and saught out the scene of the accident and, with more caution and control repeated the manauver that caused me to have an accident the first time. I do this to conquer my fear of the manauver, environment, vehicle, and self, so that I can learn to do right what I have previously done wrong. In both cases so far I believe it's made me a better driver.

Ok, that's all. If you got this far, you must be bored to tears, even if you do ride a motorcycle. I apologize.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Revisiting New York

Ok, Sojo posted these over at her Xanga site, and they made me laugh so hard I almost cried.

Remember that trip to New York(if you're interested, then start there and read the next 10 posts or so) I took back in March? This is a collection of quotes and in-jokes from it. I'm sorry that none of them will be funny to you. Just know that they made me smile.

-We'll get you there.
-"You wanna go get Naked in the deli?"
-"If I was Spiderman, I'd do this..." -Jamey
-"It's all about the system." -Christina B. and company
-"We just got Booty from 2 Chinese girls." -Tim and Patrick
-"I love sermons that are void of intellectual references..." -Richard
-Big surprise...there's ANOTHER Starbucks.
-"Lemme hear ya say, UH! na na na na..." -Jimmy
-Ooh! Ooh! Take one with MY camera!
-Uptown? Downtown?!
-Amanda Coder navigates the streets, and Sarah Jo navigates the Subway system.
-" we just get a single ride?"
-Don't get on the turnpike...don't get on the turnpike...don't get on the turnpike...
-Can anyone else not feel their body?
-Hey can get a good beat going on this phone booth!
-Left! Right! Left! Right!....oh....bye Jamey...

If you're feeling left out, go read This Comic Right Here and remember that everybody's got in-jokes. :)


The following rant is not very eloquent. For some reason the words didn't write themselves this morning. I think I'm just distracted.

What exactly is up with this:

Quite often, when I told people I was voting Badnarik, they told me that "He wouldn't win." They told it to me with the same blank, semi-confused yet self-righteous face that Yankees fans use when they say "the Yankees will take the pennant" when they're up 3-0 in a series.

It's a weird, 'if you aren't behind the winner, your wasting your time' mentality that I can't get my mind around. WTF is wrong with these people? The point of voting is not to Win, it's to change the course of history by making your convictions known. And hell, if my primary conviction in life is to--damn the consequences--vote for the winner, then I'm going to drop all my other moral convictions as well and just turn into a sell-out.

Because, when it comes right down to it, that's what I hear when people say "You have to vote for the one that might win." They're saying "sell-out. Your personal convictions are not as important as being on the side that gets to throw a victory party."

That's just pathetic. It's times like that when living in America just pisses me off.

Thursday, November 04, 2004


Nov 3rd, 12:40 AM

I only obsess. . .sometimes.

So the Election is 'over', after a fashion, and the lawyers, armed to the teeth, are ready to descend on our electoral system like vultures.

It looks like another win for Bush, but it's really too early to call anything.

Heck, I know some Americans who still want to insist that Gore won Florida. Some people will bicker about anything if they think it gives them the morally justified and superior position.

It's silly, really.

In case you were wondering, I voted for Michael Badnarik of the Libertarian Party. I think Kerry is a Rich Weenie and Bush a convicted and honest guy who is either woefully less cautious or less brutal than he should be. In either case, they both support larger government, more strain on the pocketbooks of their citizens, and more federal power. If you want to talk about wasting votes, I'd say a vote for either of them is a waste.

But I'm not here to preach or recruit, really. I'm just here to muse.

I'd really like us not to get into the sand-kicking, bickering, name calling that we had to deal with last time. I thought Gore's desperate grab at the office was childish and insulting to the nobility of the election process. I felt that both candidates acted with only their own interests in mind instead of the interests of the country. It was discouraging.

I hope that, if it does wind up being a very close race in key states, but a mature and responsible route out of the chaos is available, that either Kerry or Bush will choose it, and have the dignity to say "I have lost, and I respect America's decision."

But I doubt it will be so. Ah, well. Humanity never changes.

Update: Kerry's got class. Appearantly he called to concede a few minutes ago. I'm glad to see he's got the professionalism to concede. That's admirable.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Links, Changes, and Weather

For Ex-KG:

He's cute. Maybe it's just the angle, but he looks sorta like Tim Robbins. Not sure if that's a good thing or not.

I'm dropping the links that remind me when you update though. I hope you don't mind. (why would you?).

It's nothing personal. I'm just trying to rework some things in my head.

The weather is grey today,

It makes me smile to remember that I love in a world that doesn't spare me from itself.

It's a good day for Fountains of Wayne and Elliot Smith. I find that the weather influences my musical choices often, as do circumstances and my mood.

And I am most content, most satisfied at moments like this, when the pain wells up and simmers just below the surface, the clouds roll overhead trying to remember how to rain, and my heart tries to break and swell and grow and marvel all at once.

Misery, Confusion, Grace, and Love. How can I feel them all together?

Melancholy is my life. Melancholy is my world. Melancholy is my love. Is there anyone out there who knows how to deal with me? I am not unhappy, but I am sad.

Autumn makes me love my life with a passion devoid of justification or inspiration. I don't know why.

And that's ok sometimes.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004