blat

what do you know? there’s still just the two of us… the person with the username that matches my real-life name on LJ is the same person i corresponded with outside of LJ a couple of years ago. i would comment on what a small world it is, but that’s been done already, and besides that, when you combine the fact that it *is* a rather unusual name with the fact that it’s spelled wrong (unless, of course, you’re referring to me), it’s not as suprising as it could be.

poot

i just found a LJ user who has the same username that i have in reality. this is odd, because the name that we share is spelled in a way that most people would consider “wrong,” and, as far as i’ve been able to tell, i’m the only person who actually *has* this particular name (no, i’m not going to tell you what it is, i’m not that interested in giving that much of my life over to examination by other people). there is (as far as i’ve been able to tell) only one other person (other than me) with that same username (the other one used to have an address at AOL, but i haven’t heard from her in a couple of years). now i have to poke around and see if this is the same person, or if it’s an entirely new and different person, and if so, why she chose to spell that name “wrong”.

in other news, i’ve started a temporary job testing software for Big Brother (micro$lut), but i’m not actually *working* for micro$lut, so it’s okay. i really like testing windoes’t software, because regardless of what you do (or don’t do), you’re guaranteed to find bugs. this particular piece of software is the windoesn’t “Media Center”, and it is my job to make sure that the TV portion of the program displays properly regardless of the screen resolution, but i’ve only been at it for 2 days, so i haven’t found much yet. i’m working with aaron c., who i worked with at STLabs, several years ago, and he is a large part of the reason i’m working here currently – he said that he told the people in charge that if i was available, they’d better grab me while they could. it’s good to know that i’ve got friends, especially when the rest of my life is in such chaos… now if it were only a *permanent* job…

at the same time, i’m still not completely sure i actually *want* to work in the computer industry. the temporary job i had at schemalogic taught me that in spades. if a printshop job came along at this point, i’d take it, especially since my current job is a temporary one anyway, although if they offered to make me a permanent employee, things might be different… on the other hand, i wonder if *any* job can be said to be “permanent” any more. certainly not in the same way that my father was offered a “permanent” job. one way or the other, i’m glad to be working again, and i’m even gladder to have a job, temporary or permanent, that is as flexible as this one. the day that i started, dave was talking about the possibility that i could work from home, which i probably *couldn’t* do if i had a printshop job.

gof

i figure as long as i’m going to pay for this thing, i’ll get some use out of it. i should check the web archive to see if the entries go in there as well.

still no work. unenjoyment doesn’t run out until september, but i’m starting to get worried. i’ve got an interview for a temporary job on monday, but once that runs out in july, then i’ll be right back where i started from, except that it will be closer to september. monique has mentioned that we may have to sell the tahoe, which would mean either a smaller, less versatile car, or taking the bus, which would add even more stress to our already stressful lives.

have i mentioned recently how much i hate wage slavery? it’s even more pronounced since my injury: i hate wage slavery with a passion that wasn’t even imaginable before my injury. maybe one of these days i’ll do something about it.

so i am going to the oregon country fair, for all three days, by myself. it’s kind of a bummer to think that i’m going to have my birthday and the one-year anniversary of my injury without monique, but that’s easier than dealing with the fremont players bitching at me because i was only at OCF for two days. also, apparently jill’s going to be there, which will be the first time i’ve seen her since i was a sophomore in high school… so it won’t be that bad… i think.

feh

the brain injury is still there, and will be for the rest of my life. deal with it, i did. for more updates, go here. employment is down the tubes. there is hope, but it’s fading fast. i’m thinking of going back to school to learn perl and apache (the web-server, not the language, as google thought), but i’m not teriffically inspired to do that, either. the fremont philharmonic has been getting busier and busier, to the point where i’m almost glad i don’t have a "real" job anyway. i’m auditioning for the cirque de flambé with "The Big Bois With Poise", which is taking up even more of my already diminishing free time with rehearsals and practice (because i have a brain injury, combined with the fact that i’ve never spun poi before). the fremont players’ Jack and The Beanstalk is going to the oregon country fair this year, which is on the weekend of my birthday, which is also the one-year anniversary of my brain injury. i’d be a lot more excited about it, except that it looks as though they won’t let monique come, because of the dogs. they’d let her come without the dogs, but she never travels anywhere without them, and she said that if they don’t allow dogs then she’s not coming. i wish the fremont people would stop doing things (the solstice feast, the oregon country fair) for which to get in you have to "know somebody". on the other hand, they’re getting a lot of publicity, and not all of it is bad. anyway, i still haven’t decided whether i’m going to stay home in protest, or whether i’m going to go and "have fun" without my sweetie, which won’t be any fun at all…

pum

aum ganganapataye namaha
aum gatahitaaya namaha
aumkaraaya namo namaha

general consensus is that carl would be a lot more use to everyone if we simply shrink-wrapped him and stacked in a back corner on a drying rack. there’s no doubt that we’d get at least twice as much work done and we wouldn’t have to be constantly redoing jobs that got screwed up because carl scheduled them on the press before getting an approval from the customer. how he has managed to stay in business as long as he has with that kind of policy is beyond me.

at this point, it’s fairly obvious to everyone *except* carl that the only jobs that are getting screwed up are ones that carl has had a part of in some way or another. his standard trick is to schedule things for the press that haven’t been approved, or claim that he’s proofread them himself, when what we’re waiting for is confirmation that incorrectly spelled names or phone numbers are incorrect so that we can make corrections. he seems to feel fairly confident in second guessing the customers, but he’s only right about 50% of the time. if he guessed wrong any more than he does, he’d definitely be losing money…

in fact, perhaps that’s part of his rationale for the latest miasma he generated cutting me back to 3 days a week and hiring, and then firing shannon. it’s possible that the screwups she contributed drove the shop beyond it’s 50% screwup limit, and carl started actually losing money.

anyway…

i got email from someone this morning who was responding to one of my rants. i’m not certain if he agrees with me or not. it is my guess that english isn’t his native language, although his message was largely comprehensible enough that i would guess if english *isn’t* his native language, that he’s been speaking it since childhood, because he doesn’t use the language in the awkward, clumsy, hesitant way i’ve seen a lot of non-native english speakers use english.

i wrote back to him, and i wanted to write more, but his mail arrived just as i was getting ready to leave for work, and as it is i spent enough time responding to him that i was late for work. in a way, i’m getting a little tired, and a little annoyed with people who write to me simply to disagree with my web site, especially since most of them have been total nimrods. i’m not sure whether he agrees with me or not, but i was in a hurry, and i was pretty brusque in my response. if i’ve scared him away, that’s too bad, but it’s not my problem. on the other hand, i do sort of hope he writes back, simply because if he *does* agree with me, it’ll be nice to have someone new to talk to.

tup

once again, things have changed… do they ever stop?

carl, in his infinite wisdom, has decided that cutting me back to 3 days a week was a mistake, so he’s brought me back to 5 days a week, at $1 an hour more than i was making before. the only “catch” (as he calls it) is that i have to agree to stay at least until september. i’ll agree as long as it’s to my advantage, which means that if another job comes along that i like better, i’m taking it. on the other hand, considering what’s been going on the past couple of years in the job market, it wouldn’t surprise me very much if i don’t see another job i “like” as well for quite some time.

have i mentioned how much being a wage slave really sucks?

the sad part is that, after having me back to 40 hours for a whole week, he’s informed shannon that if “things don’t pick up”, she’s outta there. damn carl! he’s such an asshole – *ANYBODY* with an ounce of common sense could have forseen that this kind of thing would happen to him, and yet, carl, the quintessential businessman, had to shoot himself in the foot before he figured out that the gun he was playing with was loaded… too bad he didn’t shoot himself in the head.

so, if a job i like better comes along, i’m taking it, regardless of whether september has come around or not. as usual, my choice of a job i “like” is pretty restrictive: i want a full time, “permanent” position, not a time-limited contract (although a contract for a year or more would be an acceptable alternative if all of my other criteria are met); i want *at least* $65k/yr; i want insurance that includes vision and dental; i want to work with mac, unix or linux, but *not* with windows, however if i have to work with windows then i want at least $70k/yr; and i want to be able to work from home as much as possible, or at least 3 days a week, whichever is greater.

those criteria being met, i would *like* to work with graphics or music in some way or another, whether as a software tester, designer or artist. failing that, something having to do with networking and/or internet, communications or publication would be good.

anybody hiring? didn’t think so.

now, off to obtain phad tai. yum.

feg

weeks went by… the weird little web service for which he had paid good money went unused. then, suddenly…

collette, who insists on calling herself “Kitty Mojave” these days, came, stayed for a week, and went back to arizona, which she says is vastly superior to the seattle area. it’s been 10 years since i saw her last. she hasn’t changed much, although she seems to have gotten more obsessed with things that appear to me to be fairly trivial. she’s got surprisingly superior brain power, but doesn’t appear to have much desire to do anything with it. she says she’s content, but i don’t think she is… she certainly doesn’t act content, in fact she acts very restless and frustrated, but who am i to say?

working 3 days a week sucks ass. the paycheck is only about half as big as it was, things are going to hell at the print shop and i have to spend most of my 3 days whipping them back into shape, shannon means well, but doesn’t know anywhere near enough to be able to survive in that job on her own, and, so far, nobody has offered me anything else. fred came up with a testing position that’s a 3-month contract with the possibility of going permanent, but… gawd… i don’t know if i want to work with/for fred, and if it doesn’t go permanent then i’ll be totally screwed at the end of those 3 months. AAA is hiring a web designer, but i don’t know what they want because when i found out about the position, *they* didn’t know what *they* wanted. now the job is closed, all the applications, including mine, are in, and it’s a waiting game. if they hire me, i’ve heard they have great benefits, and i’ll be working with the web, which wouldn’t be bad… and they can’t possibly pay less than carl does, so that would be a step in the right direction. i called yesterday, and talked to cecilia, who is the HR representative. she said the hiring manager is going over resumes and would be calling someone next week, but, honestly, as much as i’d like that job, i’m not holding my breath. i’m going to bet they’ll hire someone with java/scripting/cgi/shockwave/database experience.

i’ve been literally losing my mind recently. if it weren’t nailed down, i’d probably forget my head… cancel cancel! damnit that’s what my stupid ass parents always used to tell me, and they’re FUCKING WRONG!

nevertheless, i somehow managed to forget that the weekend of june 21st is our 5th wedding anniversary, and we’ve planned to go to our traditional dog agility trial, and camp out in lacey for the weekend. what this means is that i somehow volunteered to be “band leader du jour” for the fremont solstice parade – i am the fremont philharmonic’s official representative for the parade which occurs on… june 21st. not only that, but we’ve also got jack and the beanstalk performances on june 22nd.

naturally, i’m the one who has to fix this problem. my solution is to bust my own ass rather than simply cancelling one or the other obligation. i can’t, in good conscience, skip out on my own wedding anniversary, but i also don’t want to appear irresponsible to my band-mates. so, what i’ve decided to do is to go to lacey with monique on friday, then go back to seattle on saturday for the parade, and return to lacey saturday afternoon. i’ll then get up sunday morning, pack up all the camping gear so that all monique has to do is get in the car and drive away when she’s done at the trial, and then i’ll head back to seattle separately, hopefully getting there in time to be in the jack performance at 1:00.

we’ve got a jack performance at 1:00, a fremont philharmonic performance at the fremont street fair at 2:00, and then another jack performance at 3:00. by the end of that weekend, i’m gonna be so exhausted i’ll be surprised if i can stand up… and then, oh joy… i have to go to goddamn work on monday morning and be a wage slave for carl. fuck that!

got another book of scripture by uncle al. i’m developing quite a collection of them. i feel a sense of accomplishment having collected them, and they’re really interesting to read and study, but i seriously wonder what other people would think of them. at the same time, i don’t really care what other people would think, because if they were to read those books themselves, they would certainly find absolutely nothing disgusting or immoral, or even improper. uncle al’s writing helps me understand what i believe better than i would if i didn’t read his writings.

roses are in bloom in our back yard. we have *A LOT* of roses this year. monique hacked them back last year, and it took them a year to recover, but this year they’ve come back in force. they’re really wild. we’ve got one rose bush that has both yellow blossoms with pink edges and pink blossoms with yellow edges on the same branch. we’ve got a whole bunch of different varicoloured blossoms, white, pink, yellow and several different shades of red. the leaves have “black spot” on them, which is theoretically treatable, but neither monique or i know anything about it. the only reason we know it’s a problem is because one of monique’s co-workers has some kind of degree in plant biomedicine. he looked down his snobby nose at the beautiful blossoms monique brought in to work the other day. so our roses aren’t absolutely perfect, show-quality blossoms without any defects, but nothing is perfect, and my impression is that the perfect ones don’t last as long, and aren’t as prolific anyway, so screw his opinion.

installed reason v2.5 the other day. i remember how excited i was when i installed v1.0, and this is just as good. new reason adds to the already increased capability of v2.0, and includes signal splitter/mergers, another new synth module, and a vocoder, which is something i’ve wanted for years. now i can *finally* do my robotic rendition of that old joan jett song “i love rock & roll”… in fact, that’s what i’m going to do now. poof.

fug

fuck.

life sucks.

i’ve been working for carl for a year now. recently carl hired shannon full time, to work behind the counter. now carl tells me that he can’t afford to pay me to work full time. he wants to cut me back to three days a week.

most jobs i’ve heard of, after you’ve been working for a year, you get a raise and a little more vacation time. you don’t get your hours cut back.

if carl hadn’t hired shannon, i could be doing shannon’s job. if there wasn’t any typesetting, i could be taking orders, or doing bindery. i could be doing deliveries…

instead, carl pays jeff to come in two days a week to cut business cards and do deliveries. he pays shannon to come in full time and sit around, as troy says, with her teeth in her mouth…

but he can’t afford to pay me to work full time. he says he doesn’t want to hurt me, but he also makes it pretty clear that my options are either reduced hours, or no job at all.

of course, the first thing i did when i got home today is start looking at job listings, and i even found a few for which i would be supremely qualified, which would very likely pay me a fair amount more than what carl pays. i hope that i find another job so i can simply walk away from carl. he’ll have a cow trying to find someone to replace me, although i have no dobt that he’ll put someone in the position (if i walk away, he’ll probably give shannon the job, but i know for a fact that she wouldn’t be able to keep up).

carl, troy and bart, all three, have given me enough details about my predecessors that i know that i’m the first person *EVER*, in the history of that business, to have the knowledge and experience to do the job correctly, but apparently carl doesn’t value that characteristic enough to realise that if i’m not there, it won’t be getting done right… and he’s not making me very interested in keeping the job at the moment.

god damnit! i *HATE* wage slavery!! if i could exist without having to have a job, i would be completely content. i hate having to look for a job, i hate writing cover letters, i hate going on interviews, i hate having to apply for unenjoyment, i hate not knowing whether i’m going to be able to pay my bills or not… and this is worse! i not only have to worry about my bills getting paid, but i also have to worry about what’s going to happen to monique and the animals! i can’t just sell everything and go live in the woods for the summer… i have a house and a wife to take care of. i can’t let them be homeless, too…

fuck carl! i hope he dies… no, i hope he loses all his money and has to ask me for financial assistance, because i’ll step on his head! asshole!

mip

it’s incredible how depressed i can get when i think about the crap that’s been going on between my parents and i ever since i was 6 years old. it really sucks. here i am, 43 years old, and i’m still hung up on what my parents think about me… or, rather, i’m not hung up on what they think about me any more, i just wish they’d either decide to try to get along, or simply leave me alone. the fact that they must drag out the 30-year-old dirty laundry every chance they get, the fact that they claim that they’re still nervous about being around me, and the fact that their hatred of me apparently rubs off on monique and ezra, neither of whom were even born when all that crap was actually going on, make me wish that i could simply swap parents with someone else… although, at the same time, i don’t even know anybody whose parents i’d want to have instead. better the devil you know than the devil you don’t, i guess, but still… my parents REALLY SUCK! if you think you’re going to grow out of them as you get older, you’re wrong!

on a lighter note, animuation is amusing, but noisy. not for watching or listening to while at work, unless you’ve got privacy, headphones, and/or a boss who doesn’t care.

yub

it is not possible for a society to be a “christian democracy” for the following reasons: democracy demands equality for all citizens, including the freedom to practice whatever religion one chooses, or to refrain from practicing any religion at all. “christianity” demands the obliteration of religious belief that is not “christianity”. when a “christian” tries to claim that the creators of the concept of social democracy were, themselves, “christian”, they are lying. plain and simple.

the fact that “christianity” demands the obliteration of every religious belief that is not “christian” is amply demonstrated in that commonly quoted passage from the gospel of mark, chapter 16, verses 15 and 16 – "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

and, we can rest assured, that if God doesn’t do the damning personally, that the good ol’ U. S. of A. will take care of the job for Him.

here’s the deal. “christians” (along with many other self-proclaimed “spiritual” people) describe God as all kinds of different things, but keep in mind – God is indescribable. how can we, with our limited human imagination, and our limited human language, ever hope to describe that which is indescribable?

as far as i have been able to tell, God has three humanly-describable characteristics. anything beyond that, and you’re dealing with somebody’s opinions about what *they* think God is like. those three humanly-describable characteristics are perfection (or changelessness), infinity (or eternity) and omnipotence. if what you’re describing is incomplete, or in any way lacking, then what you’re talking about is not God. if what you’re describing is not capable of doing anything – even things which appear to us to be contradictory or self-negating – then what you’re talking about is not God. if what you’re describing is finite, limited by time, or limited in any way, then what you’re talking about is not God. the bible clearly states that God is “the same yesterday, today and forever” which covers all three characteristics: if God is not the same, or if God changes over time, then he is not God. if he exists today, but not yesterday or forever, then he is not God. and, obviously, if he is not capable of remaining changeless for eternity, then he is obviously not omnipotent, and therefore, obviously, not God.

a lot of “spiritual” people (i normally gripe about “christians”, but i know that a lot of Christians aren’t like that, and i also know that there are a lot of allegedly spiritually oriented people who *are* like that) will tell you that “God hates sin” or that “God has a plan for your life” – if you don’t happen to believe in God, or if your favourite deity has a different name, feel free to insert whatever you like in place of the word “God” in these phrases.

however, if God really *does* hate anything, if God is affected by emotional states, then God cannot be changeless, unless He is *eternally* hateful. obviously, a God that is eternally hateful is clearly not what the bible or other scriptures are describing – although scripture *does* describe God as having a state of hatefulness. thus we can infer that it may be possible that God *is* eternally hateful, but if that is the case, then God must also be eternally joyful, because scripture also describes God as delighting in certain things. a God that is both eternally hateful and eternally joyful is a contradiction, but only a God who is truly infinite and omnipotent can be capable of such a contradiction. not only that, but the states of hatefulness and joyfulness would, presumably, cancel each other out, meaning that God is eternally in a state which can be described equally accurately as “joyful” or “hateful” – in other words, eternally in a state which we, as limited human beings, are incapable of describing.

the same holds true of the statement that “God has a plan for your life”. to imply that God has a plan for anything implies that God is somehow dissatisfied with your current state of existence, which implies that God is incomplete, or imperfect. as long as you are in a state which causes him disatisfaction. if, as long as your state of being is a source of disatisfaction to God, then God is incomplete, or imperfect, and such an imperfect being cannot be God. furthermore, if God has a plan for your life, that implies that the ultimate goal of God’s existence is to realise that plan, at which point God will become complete. again, this implies change, which, if God is truly changeless, cannot happen.

thus it is logical to assume that a truly perfect, infinite and omnipotent God *must*, by definition, be completely satisfied with the way things are – including all the war, and pornography, and other things that offend certain segments of the population. if God is completely satisfied with the way things are, then *NOBODY* has to change! *NOBODY* has to convert from one religion to another… *NOBODY* has to worship jeezis if they don’t want to, and *NOBODY* will go to hell for saying Tina Chopp is God!

hem

interesting. i was digging through my incense samples, looking for one i hadn’t tried yet, and i found “Hem Precious Chandan”. when it’s not burning, it has a powerful, sweet, sandalwood scent. when it’s burning, monique says it smells like “drakar” cologne – and, i must admit, it has a very characteristic cologne-like smell. familiar in a way that reminds me of ancient times with my family-of-origin, and situations i only barely remember at my cousins’ house. i also found a tube of “boddhi sattva” incense which is a really powerful camphor. monique doesn’t like it – she says it smells like vicks vap-o-rub, but it reminds me of aarati.

i really like being an incense peddler. i recently had to take inventory (the tax people want to know how much money i spent, so they can figure out how much of my profits to take away), and i discovered, for the first time in my life, i actually think i have *enough* incense… three five-foot-long shelves full, plus another half-shelf full is *a lot* of incense, but if things keep going the way they’ve been going, i should be able to sell all of it within the coming year.

another side benefit is the murtis. i shipped out a shi ga murti to my first murti-only customer, someone from ohio. i ended up having to order *A LOT* of stuff from the murti-supplier in order to get *one* shi ga murti, and then it turned out they didn’t have the one i ordered, so i had to substitute it for a different one. blah. but, at the same time, i now have four nine-inch dragons, two sets of foo-dogs and another shi ga, all of which are, essentially, pure profit!

gah… materialism… but, it’s not exactly like materialism. i like being able to provide these things to people… i like being the one resource when they’re not available anywhere else. a good example of this is one of my incense customers, frank. he’s a professional musician, and he lives in new york. he was a personal friend of george harrison, and he is a personal friend of ravi shankar. apparently george harrison gave him some incense many years ago, and the only place frank knew where to get it from was george… until george died. now he gets the same incense from me! 8) and i recently sent him 3 kilos of another kind of incense, which is one of his favourites, which he can’t find anywhere else. i can’t believe that i’m the *ONLY* incense peddler in the united states who carries the kasturi masala made by shroff channabassappa & sons, but if frank wants to think so, i’m not going to get in his way. i don’t do it because i like having a lot of incense, although i do like having a lot of incense. i also don’t do it because it makes me money, although i like the fact that it makes me money. i do it because i like helping out people like frank, who wouldn’t know where to buy his favourite incense if it wasn’t for me. that’s why the business is called Hybrid Elephant and not something else.

aum gam ganapataye namo namah
sri siddhiivinaayaka namo nama
ashtavinaayaka namo namah
ganapati baapaa morayaa
mangalamuurti moraya

hrm… joined a new community recently – the bhagavad gita discussion group… except as far as i can tell it’s that translation by ac bhaktivedanta prabhupada. he may have been an outstanding sanskrit scholar, but his english left quite a bit to be desired. i always like to balance his translation with the superior (IMHO) ones by Sir Winthrop Sargeant, Swami Chidbhavananda and Sir Edwin Arnold. but, and this has been a mystery to me for a couple of years now, i can’t seem to find my study copy of the edwin arnold translation. i’ve got 3 copies of that translation. two of them are little, blue, hardbound books, one of which is held together with duct-tape (because it’s been very heavily used for many years, of course), and the third one was published as a collection of “indian miniatures” – lithographic prints of ancient indian paintings, but this third one *isn’t* one of my two study copies, it doesn’t have the slokas marked in it, and i don’t want to write in it because it’s allegedly a “rare” book. i *KNOW* those books got boxed up and transported when we moved out of beacon hill, but i haven’t seen them since. included in the stack of mysterious disappearing books is a digest-sized, red hard-bound “blank book” that i used as a journal for the couple of years either side of my high school graduation. i’m sure they’re all in the same place, but i don’t know where that place is.

work was slow today. shannon was out – apparently her father had a stroke. for some reason, image east keeps not receiving the emails i send them, so i had to frantically dig around and re-send a job i sent to them on friday, which was supposed to be finished today. it sucks, but at least it’s not my fault. i have proof that i sent it, so it’s their problem.

jill

here it is. this is what i’m going to do with my thoughts about jill. this may actually be the reason, or one of them, for this whole thing.

okay, in 1976 i played trombone in the washington state bicentennial band. we spent 2 weeks rehearsing, then we spent a week in washington DC, where we performed on the capitol steps, and in the kennedy center. jill was one of the trumpet players in the band. she lived with her family in washougal, which is about 200 miles away from where i was living with my family.

jill and i had a very weird, mental connection – very powerful. we could communicate just as easily as talking without saying a single word. i could hear her thoughts in my head, and she could hear mine. we spent the entire three week experience of the bicentennial band being in much closer contact than i’ve been with almost every other person i’ve ever known.

there wasn’t really any kind of identifiable “romance” as such going on, except for a few awkward words spoken (actually spoken) towards the end of the trip, but we both knew that we had found a soul-mate, and we were both deeply in love. we went our separate ways, although we kept in touch by mail.

apparently she had the same kind of mental connection with her father, or, perhaps something else was going on, but in order to keep her father from finding out that she was communicating with me, we arranged for a friend of hers to send and receive letters for her. it turns out the guy i thought was her father wasn’t her real father, and there was a lot worse going on than i knew about at the time, but that’ll come later.

after about a year of communicating by mail, my high school jazz band went to a competition which was held in a city near where jill lived, and we arranged to meet after the competition, which was being held on the campus of the local college, was over. i found the appointed place and, at the appointed time, she didn’t show up. i waited for about half an hour, and then someone i knew from an entirely different set of circumstances, but, apparently, someone who was somehow related to jill (her cousin, or something), came up to me and informed me that jill’s father had found out that she and i were trying to meet, and that i should watch out for him because he was crazy.

the jazz band competition was over, and i didn’t have any reason to stay any longer, and the thought of being accosted by a crazy man who was pissed off that i was trying to meet his daughter didn’t appeal to me very much, so i went back to my hotel and checked out. just as i was getting ready to walk out the door, i heard a knock. i looked through the peephole and there was a guy dressed like a cop, holding a shotgun. i asked who it was, and he said “officer lee”. i figured it couldn’t be good if he had a shotgun, and i knew i hadn’t done anything wrong, so i figured this was jill’s father who had somehow tracked me down, and i took off out the back door of the hotel room… it’s a good thing i was on the ground floor.

he saw me driving out the hotel parking lot and caught up with me just as i was getting on the freeway. he followed me on the freeway from vancouver to olympia. once i was sure i had lost him, i found a state patrol office, and asked them if there was some way i could file a complaint against someone dressed like a cop who had threatened me with a gun, but they said as long as he hadn’t actually hurt me, there was nothing they could do.

needless to say, i never heard from jill after that. through a strange sequence of events a couple of years later (when i was in college), i ended up hearing a rumour that, not long after that whole thing happened, jill married a man named rockie, and that was the last i heard of it.

until about a year ago.

i was poking around on internet, and i managed to find an email address for jill, and we have exchanged quite a bit of email since then. she lives in central oregon, in a fairly remote, small town. she’s been married to rockie for 24 years, and they have either two or three (my swiss-cheese brain can’t remember) grown daughters. jill is a very important person in the nursing industry in oregon, and a practicing nurse of some fairly high calibre. rockie is a researcher of some kind or another (again, my sieve-like mind has forgotten that detail). jill also has terminal cancer, and it’s my understanding that the mere fact that she’s still alive at this point is somewhat of a miracle.

it turns out the guy i thought was jill’s father, “officer lee”, really was certifiably crazy. he eventually ended up in jail for dressing like a cop and shooting someone. according to what jill told me, he perpetrated many years of sexual abuse on her as well. jill’s exact words were “i was his concubine”. no wonder he didn’t want me around.

i gave up on jill a long time ago. being chased out of town by a nut with a gun should be enough to scare some sense into pretty much anyone. at the same time, i didn’t have the first clue how nutty he really was, and how awful jill’s life was at that time. if i had the first inkling that her life was that awful, i would have at least tried again. admittedly, my life was pretty awful at that time all by itself, but i would still have been compelled to help in whatever way i could.

the fact that jill married rockie so soon after her father chasing me away makes me wonder how serious she really was about me, which makes me feel bad now. on the other hand, the fact that she’s only alive because of a miracle makes me feel bad that i would even be thinking of something so trivial, and, at the same time, makes me wonder how, or even *if* i can be a friend to her now. the fact that she’s very strongly medically oriented means that she will very likely have a very interesting attitude about death, but i don’t know if it is even appropriate for me to ask her about it.

apparently my father (!) wrote to jill’s “father”, in an attempt to tell him that i wasn’t a danger to jill. jill told me that her “father” ripped up that letter in front of her, without letting her read it. that kind of thing strikes me as being *extremely* uncharacteristic for my father, who never failed to criticise me whenever he got an opportunity. on the other hand, there’s a very strong probability that my father didn’t have the slightest suspicion that “officer lee” was sexually abusing his daughter – after all, he still vehemently denies the possibility that *i* might have been abused as a child, which is totally ludicrous.

so, anyway, that’s the story, for what it’s worth. my side of it, anyway. now i’ve got it off my chest, so to speak.

foo

more bizarreness. danelle used to work at the clinic, but she was fired because they suspected she was stealing stuff. then, a couple of weeks ago, someone broke into the clinic and stole a huge quantity of drugs. so, apparently, today, the police served a search warrant on danelle, and found huge quantities of drugs which had been stolen from the clinic in her house. they also found her employee file, and her customer file, which were apparently stolen at the same time. the weird part is that now danelle is saying that monique and sarah helped her steal the files, which is a total lie. danelle is frantically trying to cover her butt, ’cause she *knows* she’s gonna do a lot of time for all the drugs and shit she stole. at the same time, according to what monique says, the police have already asked sarah if she’ll submit to a polygraph test. considering that they found stolen property in danelle’s house, i seriously doubt the police are giving what she says much credence, but at the same time, it’s a little scary that monique may have to submit to a polygraph test. it’s not as though she’s done anything wrong, we just don’t want it to turn into a fishing trip.

shannon was hired at work on monday this week. she managed to finish her first week fairly well. hopefully she’ll take over enough of the “brains” function from carl that things will start to run more smoothly. as it is, carl has been making a reputation for himself recently by sending jobs to press that haven’t been approved. i get a call from the customer saying they’ve got changes on their job, and i can’t find the job, so i go back to troy and he’s already printed it on carl’s approval. we’re doing at least two or three of those per week recently. so, shannon and i are conspiring against carl. i requisitioned a proofreading stamp, and now, theoretically, jobs *won’t* go to press until they’ve been signed off by the customer. period. troy says this is never going to work. he says that it has been tried before, and after a while, carl simply ignores it. troy has even offered to bet me $20 that he’s right. the way i figure it, if i put money down it, that’s going to guarantee that i’m going to lose. the way it is now, especially with shannon taking over a lot of carl’s responsibilities, i think we may actually be able to get it to work. status quo never changes until it stops being status quo, and it takes cojones to change things. in spite of everything, my impression is that troy simply doesn’t have ’em.

at the same time, i’ve had a little “frisson” of fear (nice word i learned from jill not too long ago) that carl hired shannon to replace me. shannon has *A LOT* of print shop experience, what appears to be a fair amount of computer experience, and she’s a lot more “customer service oriented” than i am. if it were up to me, i would *NEVER* have *ANY* contact with the customers (’cause i’m too likely to bite their heads off when they’re being stupid), and i’m hoping that carl hasn’t hired shannon because he wants someone up front who doesn’t mine dealing with the customers. so far there’s been no indication that this is *actually* going to happen, but i’m an inveterate paranoiac, and i can’t help thinking that way once in a while.

got a nifty box fulla stuff from the statue people. four 9″ dragons, two sets of “foo dogs” (i’ve called ’em “guardian lion dogs” before, but apparently they’re also called “foo dogs” also), and a couple of shakyamuni statues, one of which gets sent to some guy in ohio. selling stuff to people like this is *COOL*! they pay me, i buy cool stuff and send it to them, and everybody’s happy. i’ve been talking to a few people about doing some commission sales from our site as well, but so far nobody has “bit”. i talked to kolette about engraved talismans or some such thing she makes. pretty much anything she makes will be saleable – her artistic genius is rarely matched. saint fred’s friend who does ceramic stuff also contacted me a couple of weeks ago, and i had a nice conversation with gunnar’s friend joseph about a huge pile of glass pipes and suchlike that he’s got stashed in his basement. if even one of these things actually happens, we’ll have some nice additions to the business.

went to buy mice for herb and agador this afternoon. there’s a new PetsMart across the freeway from the print shop, so i decided to check it out… except that they don’t sell feeder animals because it’s “not ethical”. they also don’t sell reptiles, because they don’t want to have to sell live animals as food for them. oddly enough, they *do* sell predatory fish, and they also sell feeder fish for them, so i really wonder where they draw the line. meanwhile, i had to drive back down to petco to get mice, ’cause i *know* petco will sell me mice. and they’ll even weed out the cute ones for me, so monique won’t gripe about feeding them to the reptiles. 😉

i got email from a random, relatively local innocent bystander, who has apparently been watching The Church of Tina Chopp for a while, and he wants to attend a Vegetable Sacrifice. i told him that he should propose a date and we’ll see what we can organise. it’s a little odd, not having the Public Sacrifice on Sproogle, but there’s been such a small amount of interest over the past few years that i’m pretty desperate for *any* kind of action these days. if he wants his own, special Vegetable Sacrifice Ceremony, who am i to deny him?

new music been crunching around in my head for a few days. woulda got something down on tape (so to speak) several days ago, but massive fatigue has been plaguing me. hopefully i’ll get caught up a little this weekend. i’ve been coming home from work and going to sleep by 8:30. it’s a little alarming. i’ve got a bunch of new music i need to get down, and i’ve got a website update for diana that’s almost finished that i need to upload, so i can’t go to sleep until *at least* 11:00 pm tonight.

fum

vaguely interesting, vaguely Tina related conversation w/a couple of geeks at #verylowsodium. every now and then it’s good to have a reminder why i really don’t like IRC… although, i must admit, i’ve had some fun trading music on IRC, so it’s not all bad.

talked w/nexus about perl code for the big ass form. got some good ideas, but still don’t know how to make any of it work. nex hasn’t done perl for a while, and he was giving me information as though i know what i’m doing, which i don’t… so now i’ve got some nifty code snippets that look like they may be modifiable into something that might work, but i’m not the one to do it… oh well, i’m closer than i was before.

been trading snippets of poetry with ian over the past few days. mostly bits of lyrics from songs by brian eno and godley & creme. my impression is that ian may be able to take the code snippets and do something useful with them, but he’s been somewhat distant… um… ever since i first got back in touch with him after he got out of the army, which was… um… 10 years ago, or something like that. he’s always been kind of a loner, and he’s always lived on the edge of civilization, but he’s working less than a mile from where i work, *and* he’s got a lot more email access than i do currently (only because he’s working as a geek, and i’m not). i guess i should be happy to hear from him as much as i do, all things considered.

the phone company *SUCKS*… i’d just like to say this in public… specifically qwest. i’ll say it again, with emphasis this time: QWEST SUCKS ASS!

monique and i got new cell phones. the qwest drone told us that they would have “the most up-to-date software available” installed in them. when we got the phones, they didn’t do a bunch of the stuff the qwest drone told us it was going to do. i contacted motorola, and discovered that we *don’t* have the most up-to-date software. motorola informs me that the most usual way to get software upgrades is to download them from my service provider. but qwest says their network “doesn’t support downloads”… !?!?

they say that the only way to get a software upgrade is to replace the phone… so i tell them i want a software upgrade, and they send me another phone… which has identical software in it. i contact motorola to see if there is another solution to this problem, and it turns out i can mail the phone to motorola’s offices in texas, and they can upgrade the software for me, but that takes 20 days… and, of course, qwest won’t loan me a phone for that period of time.

qwest says it’s “not in their contract” to provide software upgrades. they say the only thing they’re required to do is provide the ability to make and receive wireless phone calls. anything beyond that is out of their jurisdiction.

to make matters worse, i’ve relied on the WUTC to persuade the phone company to do things they’ve promised to do, but then changed their minds, however apparently the WUTC doesn’t have jurisdiction when it comes to wireless phone providers. they recommended i complain to the FCC…

so, i’m doing that tomorrow.

and they call this civilization?

burning man

aum ganganapataye namah

so, i’m going to burning man this year. i’ve wanted to go for a number of years, and now i’ve actually got an “excuse” to go… i’ve even got my ticket, which set me back a whopping $225, qualifying burning man as the single most expensive event i have ever attended.

problem is, i don’t know how i’m getting there. monique wants to meet me on the southern oregon coast *after* burning man (she’s not going to burning man because it’s not a safe environment for dogs, and she doesn’t want to leave the dogs at home), but that’s assuming that i not only have some way of getting to burning man, but a way of getting to the oregon coast afterwards.

20 years ago, i would have hitchhiked, and not been concerned about it. 20 years ago, i didn’t have a job and a schedule to worry about. i’ve got a very limited amount of time between the time i leave and the time i have to be back at work (bleah), so i’ve either got to find a ride to burning man who is also willing to drive me to the oregon coast afterwards, or i have to figure out a way of driving myself.

our small car won’t make it – it’s on its last legs as it is, and an extended road trip would be its death knell. our big car would make it, but if i take the big car, monique won’t have any way to get her and the dogs to the oregon coast afterwards, and if i come home after burning man and before going to the oregon coast, it’ll waste at least two days.

i could rent a car, but that would cost a fair amount of money and i’m already trying to keep expenses down (what with the $225 ticket), and besides, i’m planning on taking at least 20 gallons of water, so it would have to be a fairly substantial car, if i ended up renting one, to be able to transport that, plus me and a week’s worth of camping gear and food.

i was hoping to get a ride there and back from sasha, but now he’s not sure whether he’s going or not, ’cause his sweetie’s father is sick. i’m sure i know other people i might be able to get a ride from, but i’ve emailed a bunch of ’em and so far i haven’t got any responses.

mal offered to loan me his RV, if he hasn’t sold it by then… but even if he hasn’t sold it, i don’t know whether it’s in any shape to make that long a road trip, not to mention the fact that i’ve never driven anything like that before.

blah.

aum ganganapataye namah

the enlightened rantings of a brain damaged freak