I Wish, I Wish
(27 May - 5 June 2003)

5 June 2003
-Stupid/unobservant people really bug me.  At least today.  Lots of things seem to be bugging me today.  It's so easy for most people to do daily tasks in their life... why do they have to make it seem hard?

4 June 2003
-I am absurdly cynical about American politics.  One of the prime reasons for this is the rigid 2-party system in the US, something almost unique to this nation among democracies worldwide.  Most countries first introduced to democracy take to it with great gusto, forming 312 parties that then must form coalitions & cooperate, but each maintaining some sort of real, honest identity in the process.  While I still don't think democracy is the best solution for governments, 312 parties (or even 3 viable parties) beats the pants off of 2.  But there is a party, that believes as close to what I do as any known American party, that is vying for 3rd-party status in this beleaguered nation.  & in 2000, they had what SHOULD be the best-case scenario for a democracy... they cost their fellow leftists the election.  What this is supposed to do in democratic theory is force the leftists (Democrats) farther to the left to reclaim those radical (Green) votes, thus incorporating some Green ideology into the Democratic platform & ultimately national policy.  Instead, this robust unprecedented opportunity has been squandered on finger-pointing from wishy-washy Democrats, claiming that everything that happens from 2000-2004 is the radicals' fault, & by the way that's why they'll become more like the right-wing.  It doesn't make any sense, but it's what's happening.  So, how do the Greens capitalize on the power they wield to turn a close election, even though mod-leftists argue that it's one's patriotic duty to vote New-Center-Democrat next election?  They extend a policy they have in many local elections (at least in New Mexico & California)... where they don't run Green candidates against Democrats who are practically Green anyway (such as Berkeley's own Barbara Lee).  So I say the Greens evaluate the field of Dems, pick the 2 or 3 far-leftists, & announce in January that Nader will sit out in '04 if one of them gets the nomination.  Otherwise, Nader will push hard to show that the Greens are the new left, while the Dems are squarely center.  Coercive?  Yes.  But potentially the only way to save us from having two right-wing parties in America?  You betchya.
-I guess levity is a lost cause for many people.  Jo Athans took the time to write me the following e-mail yesterday: "Just took your quiz... and just to let you know, Texas isn't a country."  That was the entire e-mail; the ellipses were Jo's.  I couldn't make this up.  I guess receiving only two neutral/negative critique e-mails when the Quiz is going on 35,000 runs is pretty remarkable.  But not as remarkable as people who actually believe I just goofed & thought Texas was REALLY a whole other country.

3 June 2003
Happy Birthday to Nikki Hay
-You know things have gone south in this country when elderly volunteers in Walnut Creek (insanely conservative/elitist community) get visibly angry with recent political events.  Namely, the Tuesday volunteer told my boss & I that he was depressed, explained his frustration with various policies & the general plutocratic state of the nation, & ended with "I'm old, I'm going to die soon, & it will be in a totalitarian state.  Dammit!"  I had never seen someone yell at the JMMC Library & it took a lot for him to say this in front of my boss who quietly dissented & I'm pretty sure is pro-Bush.  Things are bad, people.
-I wish I could have any faith whatsoever in Bush's roadmap in the Middle East.  With Ariel Sharon on board & bombings failing to derail talks, it looks like the best time in years to be optimistic about that.  & yet a warmongering idiot is running the show.  Maybe Bush should have scuttled his own detriments to peace before trying to berate everyone else into it.  But I guess that wouldn't allow him to make Bechtel so much money.
-A lot of people (including the volunteer discussed above) have expressed great frustration with the late FCC decision to deregulate media.  I too think it's a horrible idea, another step on the road to the bi-company America of our near future, but some e-mail forwards I saw just before the vote struck me as a little naive.  Mostly, I don't see what influence any number of people can have on a 5-person partisan committee.  True, when NOW & the NRA are aligned together, you know something momentous is happening.  However, those 5 people had their minds made up (or minds made up for them) years ago.  Public sentiment just doesn't mean that much in a plutocracy, folks.

2 June 2003
-Depression with work seeping into everything.  As I told Em last night, I feel like my brain has been refrigerated & sent off to Alaska for semi-permanent cold storage.  All the while, I know that my fate is entirely in my control.  I just have to take the leap.  So many people let their lives degrade when they could just CHANGE if only they believed.  Watch me change.  Watch me walk away.
-Remember how the last two weeks set new records for hits at the Blue Pyramid?  The old record was just beaten by more than 33,000 page accesses!  So the new record high is 84,053 page accesses, a 67% increase from the previous record.  Wow.  Of course this was fueled by a record 5,629 Country Quizzes, bumping that total over 33,000 in 20 weeks.  In short, I'm a stat junky.  & the Quiz is really popular.

1 June 2003
-Finally saw Pac Bell Park.  It's truly amazing.  The outside looks identical to Camden Yards, but the inside is uniquely great.  They made a real effort to make sure there were no bad seats in the stadium... we were in the VERY top row behind home plate down the first-base line.  Yet we could see 100% of the field unobstructed.  It was like watching the game from a blimp, but a fully disclosing blimp.  The view was best, however, of the Bay, which is behind the entire outfield of the park (on highlight reels it looks more like it's only behind right field).  Somehow this is only the 7th major league park I've been to, one of which (Kingdome) has since been blown up.
-So good to talk to people I haven't in a while.  Need to do that more.

31 May 2003
-"Finding Nemo" was truly excellent.  I think if that movie had come out when I was 5 or 6, I would have become a marine biologist.  Except for that strange fear of aquariums I have.  & that I can't swim.  Other than that, though.  The point is, everyone should see this movie.  It has lobsters!  & sea turtles!  Also, seeing the Pixar-made movie in Emeryville (home of Pixar) was pretty spiffy.
-Pandora is becoming increasingly psycho.  Not in any dangerous way, or even as destructive as before, she's just taken to being very loud, pouncing on us, & stalking film cannisters.
-One Saturday left at the dullest job ever.  I actually got an unexpected thank-you from a person who I truly loathed helping.  I guess it's helping when you don't want to, but still are helpful that counts.  Or something.

30 May 2003
-Planned obsolescence really bothers me.  Of the many hallmarks of the overly materialistic wasteful society, this is one of the worst.  But its partner-in-crime is the equally worrisome trigger-happy warning light.  Mostly found on copiers, printers, & similarly minded ink-dispensers, this light hungrily demands toner or ink cartridges hundreds of pages before it actually requires them.  Not only does this require ignoring flashing red lights for days on end while one makes efficient cost-effective use of the ink one has purchased, but it desensitizes people to to warning signs of all kind.  How long before we start ignoring fire alarms because we think the sprinkler companies are just trying to make an extra buck?  Sure, that's sliding down pretty far on ye olde slippery slope, but the knee-jerk reaction I have to warning lights now is that someone's trying to bilk me.  That can't be a good association.

29 May 2003
-We have these birds who live just outside our main window.  They sing exactly like birds do at dawn.  The sound is hard-wired in my brain to sound like either pulling an all-nighter & realizing that it's dawn already &/or being woken by sunlight streaming through an east-facing window.  It's impossible to hear the song & not think of dawn.  The kicker is that they begin their tune around midnight & simply don't stop singing all night.  It's ridiculous.  I don't know if they're parked under a lightpost or got tired of their day job, but these birds are insane!  Trying to fall asleep to the sounds of morning is difficult.
-As I was finishing up my review of the proofs of LB, Em joked with me that my book might come out on the same day as the next Harry Potter installment.  That would crack me up.  Think I can rack up a million pre-orders in the next month?
-I love our stock market.  It is utterly oblivious to the actual American economy & its actual American businesses.  Unemployment skyrocketing?  Who cares, time to buy stock!  Layoffs, bankruptcy, collapse?  Time to buy stock!  I guess the tax cut is generating investment, wherein the meaningless market will grow while the rest of the nation stagnates.  At this rate the Dow will hit 12,000 about the time that unemployment hits 12%.
-Today has not been going well.  For some reason I turned off my alarm instead of hitting snooze this morning, so I then woke up an hour or so after I absolutely have to be up.  Trouble ensued.  Nevertheless, I still found about half an hour of pure boredom time at JMMC, which is always more active than my other job.  I need to change my life.
-Pat Nichols has a new online journal, Muxalicious.  In his first post, he vows not to let his "blog" become a laundry-list of what he did that day, which seems to be an increasing paranoia amongst online journalers.  I guess it just seems strange to me because if people WANT to read/know about your day, who cares?  Sometimes things here are dullish laundry lists.  Often they're oddly cryptic notes.  Other times I rant about politics, or people, or life, or anything.  Thinking about the 3+ years of this Introspection, it strikes me as horrendously inconsistent in content despite daily updates for over 1,100 days.  I guess my point is that many friends of mine (& presumably people everywhere) have a notion that a webpage/online journal must somehow entertain people, or play to an audience.  I guess I'd be afraid that if I felt that way, I'd be making insincere posts... i.e. not what I wanted to discuss, but what I felt people wanted to hear.  Which would of course (for me) undermine the ENTIRE experiment of living a life in public, unchained to implicit or explicit deception/hiding/inconsistency.  Just things to chew on.  So far, though, Pat is entertaining, whether he's trying for his sake or ours.

28 May 2003
-There's been much talk about Friendster lately (I still have no idea what it really IS), & this got me thinking about the fact that I keep considering going back on IM.  As Drew pointed out when he came to visit, I don't think I've been on AOLIM since 2001.  More or less.  It's been at least a year.  & I haven't missed it.  I thought I'd be online most of the time with DSL & a new coastline, but the fact remained that I just don't enjoy IM as a medium of communication.  I'm a big phone person & big e-mail person when I'm being disciplined about it, but IM conversations always seem to be glorified passing in the halls.  The only fun of IM is having an away message & a profile, & then checking everyone else's.  But even that gets disorienting enough to make me want to stay away.
-"You don't just add Satan's Little Workbook to a stack of Golden Books." -Emily, to her mother, on why there will be no sour cream at our wedding.  & you thought you'd seen the last of the great sour cream & morality debate!

27 May 2003
-Migraine almost kept me from going into work, but it subsided halfway through the day, vindicating the decision to go to work.  I have a feeling this might be an ebb-n-flow adventure, though, that I haven't felt the last of.
-Last week shattered the prior week's record for visits to the site, cracking the plateau of 50,000 page accesses.  There were more page accesses on the 23rd than any given WEEK prior to January's launch of the Country Quiz.  The current high to beat is 50,301.
-As part of the biggest week ever at the BP, we had the 2nd biggest Country Quiz week & the longest search ever.  You can find both at the regular weekly update locations.

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