Down and Out in Paris and London
(5-14 July 2005)

14 July 2005
-Welcome back Drew to the land of blogging!  His re-entry post is amusing to me:  "Sad realization: Storey has kept better track of my life than I have. I was trying to remember the date of an important occurrence in my life, and I finally resorted to trolling through Introspection to see whether he mentioned it. And he did. Maybe that will shame me into updating more often."
-For some reason, Bastille Day strikes me as more relevant than the day 10 days ago.  Make of that what you will.  I really will never be able to run for political office in this country, will I?  I wonder if things will ever get bad enough so that my sentiments that I express here wouldn't be a fatal liability in a campaign.  Or even that having a Green next to my name instead of a D or an R wouldn't be too much.

13 July 2005
-Two years and counting.  It seems like so much longer!
-Spent a wonderful day at Six Flags Marine World, which was way cooler than I expected.  The emphasis was fortunately on the Marine World, where it seems like they added a few rides to an animal park rather than adding animals to a theme park.  They had penguins, amazing dolphin & orca shows, seals, giraffes, elephants, & flamingoes to hit the highlights.  Also some ducklings that had infiltrated the flamingo pen & were crawling under the fence that almost convinced Emily she could have ducks at some point, despite her general objection to fowl.  A lot of the rides were fun also, though we were both in a somewhat subdued mood for rides, doubly so after "Roar" was the most herky-jerky rickety experience ever & stopped for 5 minutes on the first major incline.  Em hadn't realized that it was the 2nd or 3rd biggest roller coaster at the place & thought we were going on a toned-down Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, while in fact it was like that ride, but much more intense.  We had a good long 5 minutes stuck on the ride to discuss this.
-Also, the swing-type ride that goes around in circles, with each person in their own little basket, is by far my favorite ride of all time.  I discussed with Em several times that if we had a season pass to Six Flags, I would go for a whole day to ride the swings over & over again.  These swings didn't have a great view, but the carousel-like contraption had all sorts of aquatic life painted on it & it got a pretty decent height.  The swings feel as much like flying as anything I could really imagine... without any of the risk of things that feel a little more like flying.

12 July 2005
-Hung out with Stina & Dav last night, discovering that the former really has been transformed by her connection to the latter.  Which is how it's supposed to be!  It's really great to see Stina actually happy for once.  Very relieving, among other things.  Dav also looks uncannily like Brandzel, which was interesting.  There were moments when I was wondering how Brandzy had gotten there before catching myself.
-A passively frustrating day... but not too bad.  Just passively frustrating.  At least I keep coming up with creative ideas, both for writing & for the webpage.  I know that I will look back on this summer as an incredible opportunity for creative output, & I will regret not taking full advantage if I fail to.  Ah who am I kidding, I'm going to regret not taking full advantage even if I write 12 books.

11 July 2005
Happy Birthday to Dom Williams
-You should all go see "March of the Penguins", which I saw yesterday with Em & (sort of) Fish.  One of Morgan Freeman's better movies lately... & he's the only human in it!  It's a feature documentary on penguins, & it may be one of the best movies I've seen all year.  Tremendous.
-Unicorns appear to be a dying breed this week.
-It occurred to me in the shower today (because that's where things occur to people, of course), that a great place to hide information is in the source code of a webpage outside the bounds of the HTML barriers.  You can put anything there you want & it won't show up in the webpage, but will be right there if you're looking for it by viewing the source code.  & how many people go around checking the source code on random webpages?  It's a good place for a secret code.  Which made me wonder if there are people working for Homeland Security whose entire job is running around viewing the source code on thousands of webpages every day.

10 July 2005
-When calculating it, there was a brief moment that I thought that the 2,000th day of Introspection was going to be my Dad's upcoming birthday.  Which would've been awesome.  But of course I was skipping around & the actual 2,000th day will be 9 days later, on 2 September of this year.  I've been contemplating doing one of those new trendy "101 in 1001" lists to get myself motivated... I think they're a great idea, even though I'm often very anti-goal-orientedness.  I think the 3ish year time-frame is great, plus I love looking at things in terms of a thousand days rather than conventional years & such.  I was thinking of launching it to coincide with Introspection's 2,000th day, but that seems a wee bit late.  & of course my 9,000th day on the planet was last year, with the 10,000th still well in the future.  So if I'm going to do it soon, the list will have to revolve in its very own thousand-day cycle.
-Also, this makes 3 in a row.  Refuse to lose, a decade later?
-Archived the last few months, having finally come up with a good theme for the 7th "Era" of 300 days of Introspection.  It's called the "HOLD", a creation of my own just now to bring together 4 great dead authors from Great Britain & Ireland.  I actually picked the 4 (Huxley, Orwell, Lewis, & Dahl) before realizing that they could form a great acronym, which promptly sealed the deal.  I'd gladly give the Era to just one of these four, most prominently Huxley as I'm well into him & cruising through the excellent Eyeless in Gaza right now, but I need something that can easily yield 30 titles.  Keeping in mind that to keep the titles at all relevant, there should be at least 50-60 to actually choose 30 from.  For the first time since coming up with these themes, a good chunk of the titles will be things that I have not read or heard.  While I know almost every Simon & Garfunkel, Stevens, & Dylan song, & have read Watership Down (many many times), the complete works of Kafka, & nearly the complete works of Bradbury, I am nowhere close to having read everything from the HOLD.  Nevertheless, I'd like to accomplish that someday (well, maybe not everything from Lewis, but most of his fiction perhaps) & I like these 4 guys nonetheless.  I've used some really long sentences in this entry.
-I seem to be in one of those perma-update, no-sleep modes.  But I should probably get a little sleep so I can hang out with Em on her day off tomorrow instead of sleeping till noon as usual.  Though she might sleep in till then.  Anyway, the point of this final entry of the early morning was to say that the SOTW-II has been updated.  The Google one narrowly beat out no limit a capella, which just cracked me up because it made me envision a tournament of people constantly raising their singing voices at each other to try to scare the others out.  What would an a capella "all-in" be?
-Okay, who order the destruction of true rainbow sherbet?  Seriously.  It's supposed to have lime, orange, & raspberry.  Who let pineapple invade almost every version of it on the market?  Weren't these people ever kids?  Didn't they ever grow up with one of the world's truly great flavors?  Why would they want to destroy it like that?  Why is the only edition with the proper flavors sold in a 2-gallon tub at the store?  Boo!
-My oh my.  They did it.  It could be an interesting second half all of a sudden.

9 July 2005
-After spending a little time at the Urban Dictionary, I'm convinced that almost everything anyone's ever said as a phrase is chronicled there.  I kept trying to come up with things that I had coined randomly, & they would have someone's crackpot (or sometimes accurate) definition there.  They even have something for "mep", though it has nothing to do with emus.  Regardless, Fish & I have been trying to encourage the use of the phrase "plane station" instead of airport, because it is both more accurate & infinitely more esthetically pleasing.  It just sounds great rolling off the tongue.  Anyway, even this has an entry already!  Though it's poorly written & refers to a random individual.  Still, everyone should start using this term!
-Don't look now, but the M's won their 2nd straight in Anaheim (Los Angeles of Anaheim) yesterday, & it just might not be time to throw in the towel yet.  If we were to say, sweep the first-place team, that'd be a 4-game comeback fairly fast.  & it just happens to be the 10-year anniversary of a certain comeback against a certain team called the Angels...
-Did you know that Aldous Huxley & C.S. Lewis both died on the day of the JFK assassination?  I feel like I knew that Huxley went on that day, but not both of them.  Sheesh.  In related news, Wikipedia is rapidly becoming one of my favorite sources of information.  & not just because I'm in it.  & no, I didn't write that last article... though I probably know the person who did.

8 July 2005
-It's truly amazing to me how incompetent the US/UK juggernaut is at dealing with the threat of terrorism.  Articles like this have a lot of validity.  Because more attacks are inevitable.  Why?  Well a big part of it is the fact that rather than considering moderating views & reaching out diplomatically to the world that the juggernaut has been wronging for a century or so, the juggernaut response to terrorism is the ever-practical "we will hunt down & kill every last one of you who doesn't like us".  This theory is making major inroads against the Iraqi insurgency.  Because as everyone knows, every time you kill someone, you make more enemies than you had to begin with.  Now I do have to tread a little carefully here, because I'm not advocating that one's response to violence should always be to placate whoever is perpetrating violence.  But honestly, the most viable response to terrorism is probably just to ignore it.  Certainly fanning the flames & pretending that one can just beef up security to the point where terrorism is impossible is ridiculous.  Because as the mayor of NYC practically blurted on Wolf Blitzer yesterday, & everyone is thinking deep down, even all these crazy security measures in the US can't possibly stop a suicide bombing in darn near any public place in America.  & there will always be enough US citizens who hate America that even if you build a 900-foot-high razor-wire fence around the border, it's still going to be a threat.  The best thing one can do is to do just try to do things the right way, not be obstinate & mean & domineering to the rest of the world, try to actually promote the beliefs one claims to, & then it will be much harder to recruit people who hate America because America is harder to hate.  That is the only reasonable approach to fighting terrorism.  Anything else is just getting into a Cold War with an enemy that can't be engaged.  Spain handled things almost perfectly... they even had the excuse of a regime change to make it look like they weren't just being intimidated.  I think the big news story these days is actually how relatively calm the terrorism front has been lately... I wouldn't trust this to last, folks.
-Did a MASSIVE overhaul of the front page of the BP, mainly to add a stagnant background in a move I've been wanting to make for a long time.  I have a bad feeling that it looks atrocious in 800x600 view, but I don't know how many people are really using anything that small anymore.  If anyone out there IS using said view, please let me know how bad it looks & any thoughts on what could change it.  I may have to make another "800x600 safe" version of the front page, though I thought that was a little tacky when I first did it, & most of the point of this new background is to look classy.  Ah well.  Regardless of your screen resolution, let me know what you think!

7 July 2005
-Now don't get me wrong.  I am very saddened by any violent event... & what happened in London today is no exception.  My condolences to all who were hurt by this.  There is no justification for violence & violence continues to be unacceptable in ALL forms.  But, it must be pointed out that 37 innocents dead is a few less than the minimum of 22,787 innocents killed by the US & UK forces in the Iraq War in the last 2+ years.  That's about 26 a day, so this day in London is a little worse than the average day for Iraq every single day since the war began.  Perspective, please.  So forgive me for being angry when Bush & Blair talk about their peaceful nature just because today they happen to be talking about good things after spending 2 years plotting on how to kill 26 innocent civilians a day for 2.5 years.

6 July 2005
-Take the MIT Weblog Survey
-I tend to be against posting graphics here that I don't control within the BP, just because they tend to go dead.  But I posted the visited-states map a while back, & I'm posting this, because I really like the comment.  The survey was fun & interesting, & I feel like I'm going to be an outlier on a lot of things, especially given the emphasis they placed on instant messaging.  Also, I was sad they didn't have a "Forever" option on the question about how long one expects to continue posting to a weblog.  "Over 5 years" is the most they could do.  Ah well, I never plan anything even 5 years in advance, but I see no reason why I would stop doing this.  Anyway, do the survey.
-I had a dream last night about having taught for a year & getting back a review of my performance that bombarded me with criticism for not following the curriculum, not doing enough "fun" activities, & generally messing up.  It said I would be given one more year to try to turn things around.  There was also a lot of talk about how I seemed to be unable to divorce the middle school students in front of me from the middle school students who had tormented me 15 years ago.  How the reviewer of my teaching knew about this, I couldn't say, but I knew they were right & I knew that I was a basket case of reliving the past.  I ended up breaking down in tears, hoping someone would see me storm out of the end-of-year assembly & come comfort me, but no one did.  I woke up almost in actual tears.  This dream presents a lot of interesting insights on where my contorted mind is right now.  I think I'm at a crossroads of feeling like I can deal with kids in a job setting... not really sure either way.  I'm well aware that my anxieties & the connections to Broadway are still alive & well, a decade & a half after the events.  How fickle the ability to forgive & move on can be!  To be fair, Seneca did a lot to revive those dormant memories/concerns.  & how!  I also, of course, feel like a failure at my last job & can't get away from that feeling no matter how much I can intellectualize that the job failed me.  Of course, if this theme were a little less like the history of my education, 1987-1993, then it would be easier to box up & move on from as well.  & if I were being bombarded by job calls instead of silence in response to my applications, I could feel like less of a failure.  & everyone has advice about the process.  I don't think I want advice, because my own limitations & hopes are within.  I need to reconcile where I'm going with myself, not with outside standards.  Because outside standards, right or wrong, just make me bitter & overly likely to do the opposite of the standards.  I'm almost feeling tempted to go back to libraries, because it's looking more viable than anything else.  I can't help but wonder how I would've felt about my library jobs had I not been commuting so much.  Maybe it would have been the perfect blend of a schedule & free unfettered time to write.  Of course I'm going to need to do things that help people, but if no one is willing to give me those opportunities, I still have to bide my time in something more neutral to slightly helpful.  Or something.  I just don't know.  What I do know is that I need to schedule my own time a little, if only to distract myself from myself.  That is key at this juncture.

5 July 2005
-Saw some fireworks out at Jack London last night, though we spent way too much time looking for a parking spot & ended up on a park bench a ways away.  It was fun to hear the reverberations of the blasts echoing down the buildings of downtown Oakland.  Also fun was the cell-phone-connection-based confusion where I would've sworn Emily had said "There are some neat fireworks in London tonight!", which produced a good deal of incredulity on my part about the Brits celebrating July 4th.  I've found that if I concentrate on divorcing the fireworks from the idea of what they're celebrating, I can enjoy them, but otherwise I spiral into the kind of depression that has visited itself on many recent July 4ths.  Fortunately, the Oakland display wasn't obsessed with patriotic colors given the general local feeling on the war & such, so many of the blasts were smiley-faces & various purples, greens, & golds.  Which makes it sound like Mardi Gras.  Oh well.
-Today I did nothing.  Days where that is the case need to stop.  But this time, I mean it!

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