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15 Days until 30

  1. Friends don't let friends drink and Craigslist.

  2. "Whenever a thing is done for the first time, it releases a little demon." --Emily Dickinson

  3. Experience leads to either bitterness or strength. You decide which.

  4. Not every day can be new years eve.

  5. Talk to yourself. You wouldn't want to get lonely, would you?

  6. Keep going. Just fucking keep going.

  7. Really accomplished people should be shot.

  8. Letters and cards can save lives.

  9. Always keep some kind of spicy sausage on hand.

  10. Make you're own damned fun!

  11. Learn a bunch of stupid jokes. Tell them incessantly.

  12. Environment is more important than most people will ever know.

  13. Be not afraid.

  14. Always remove the packing material from your new stove before cooking in it.

  15. If life give you lemons, you probably should stop buying Fiats.

Originally published at Don\'t talk to me about life....


20 days until 30

Life has been very interesting lately.

Since I'm nearing 30 any day now, for posterity, I would like to make note of some things that I have learned so far. These are in random order, as they pop into my head, and are exceedingly dumb.

  1. If you joke about doing something for too long in IRC, eventually, no matter how ridiculous it may seem, it will become reality.

  2. Even if you have nothing left to lose, you still have something to give

  3. It is better to laugh wryly at yourself, than to wallow in self-pity.

  4. If you truly live a life of no regrets, eventually you'll lose your soul.

  5. Listen to your fortune cookie: All thing has a cause, look into your pass for answers.

  6. Life is what happens when you're doing something out of the ordinary.

  7. Art is always better when it is for someone else.

  8. Prayer never stops being important.

  9. To err is human, to moo is bovine.

  10. It is always darkest before it goes pitch black.

  11. If work is annoying, burn down the office.

  12. Music is vital.

  13. A few close friends and family are worth more than any other distraction.

  14. Being devious is more satisfying than being smart.

  15. All you need is love.

  16. That last one isn't entirely true.

  17. Traveling is not optional.

  18. If you're going to be crazy, you may as well revel in it.

  19. Help other people, no one else will.

  20. Fish are actually plants.

Originally published at Don\'t talk to me about life....


I am the queen of citrus

I just ate two grapefruits, and two oranges. Then I drank about a pint of yogurt. Now it's time for a couple squirts of nasal spray, and an assload of Echinacea. After that I might just sacrifice a virgin, and then round things off by taking a Tylenol 3, in hopes that it will help calm my head and let me sleep! The down side to taking the Tylenol 3 is that it's one less Tylenol 3 I'll have in my possession...


I just like to know that they are there if I need them. Really.

What time is it?

You guessed it! It's random sinus problem time with Leah! This is the show you've all been waiting for. In this episode, Leah whines about how terrible it is to be her because she is all sick:

On Saturday, after various talks with various people (some of which left me with a general feeling of being a massive asshole), as I was passing out, my entire head suddenly went from completely normal to something resembling a Cival War battlefield, in a matter of minutes. I have no idea if I was exposed to Bacterial Meningitis (I guess not, I'd probably be all dead by now), some kind of strange mold from outer space (I think this is the most likely answer), some wacky chemical (anything is possible in the Annex on a Saturday), or what. The symptoms descended upon me so randomly: it was a bit weird.

And I'm not just talking about a sudden runny nose here. I'm talking about blood and gore and my freaking brain oozing out of my...

Right, 2009 is not the year to start going into the details of what goes on in my nose and other random medical issues. That was 2006. Let's just say that it has been rough. I'm doing my absolute best to treat myself, because I'm off to DC this weekend. I really, really, really do not want to find myself all sick at that point.

Due to being all loopy and ill, I haven't gotten as much done this week as I was hoping for. I did at least manage to finish sorting out some laundry, deal with L'robot, and sweep up a little bit. My apartment is absolutely trashed though. Also, my eating habits have gotten downright bizarre. For lunch I ate a bunch of goldfish crackers, and half a jar of peanuts.

As to the rest, I'm still recovering from HAR. I have this very unsettled feeling like I'm on the brink of, well, something with a brink. This probably means that I need a Ruth. I suppose I'm just going to have to tempt her to come visit by not so subtle bribes involving transparent black thingies.

Speaking of which, Ruth pointed out the existence of: http://hipstergirlsinmustaches.blogspot.com

One thinks one is being all silly, clever, and different. But noooo! The Internet goes and destroys one's illusions of individuality, yet again. Screw you Internet! http://unholymenace.com/thumbnails.php?album=133 I guess we're just going to have to get teenage mutant ninja turtle costumes. I don't think anyone's doing that? If they are, don't tell me.

Originally published at Don\'t talk to me about life....


Adventures at HAR, and beyond

Disclaimer: I was feeing extremely moody when I wrote this:

Life is beautiful. Life is pain and sorrow. Life is hope. Life is music, and life is light. Life is fears, dreams, plans and adventures. Life is ambition, and life is failure. Life is love and life is raw and life is learning. Life is healing and life destroys the soul. Life is seeing, life is believing, and life is nothing at all. If one types the word life enough times, it starts to look really strange.

OK, I'm going to stop being all ridiculous and get on with the writing.

I hardly know where to start. I don't think that it is even possible for me to write about the insanity that was this week without taking another week to do so. This week was breathtaking, and it was terrible all at the same time. The words terrific and terrible - not so far separated as one might think.

At the end of it all, I'm left feeling a bit breathless, unsure what will happen next, and sad. I have surprised myself in a number of ways over the week. I feel as though I lived a month in that last week.

HoaP and HAR was absolutely fantastic. I am so happy that I did end up going to HAR. The camp was absolutely fantastic. I could have wandered for hours in that crazy light-filled camp in the Netherlands, and the entire trip would have been worth it - just for that. I met, and saw again so many fantastic people.

HAR was a giant hacker camp that assembled in the Netherlands. You could fabricate just about anything there. A GSM and DECT phone network was fully operational. You could sit around all day and learn to pick locks, you could drink Mate or beer and socialize for hours, or you could go to any number of talks.

I can't describe the entire trip. Too much happened to describe the entire trip. But here is a really crappy time-line of things from my perspective, for posterity.

Crappy TimelineCollapse )

I am still heartbroken about the loss of O'Cow, and very unsure about the rest. I had so many fantastic experiences and spent time with many awesome people. I was really happy to be back in Europe again, and I am now inspired in many different directions. Also, there was more than the usual amount of adventure. So was it an awesome trip?


There's my poorly written, crappy summary of the last week or so. The end.

Originally published at Don\'t talk to me about life....

17 Things I miss about Germanski

I think I'm way too exhausted to start writing about the insanity that was this week, so instead I offer you the following list of things that I realized in the last couple days that I missed about Germany:

Disclaimer: most of these are broad generalizations. Also, I wrote this in a sleep deprived state on the bus, and then failed to hit the publish button.

1. The windows. I like the way they open in various manners. I enjoy closing them as well. I like the way that they always look nice. (Also, I hate the windows in Canada for the opposite of all of these reasons.)
2. Breakfast. Cheese, yogurt, meat, bread, eggs, fruit. HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY GO WRONG?
3. Coffee machines. Push button, receive delicious coffee.
4. Sense of humor. Nothing beats a German sense of humor.
5. Driving in Germany. Craving excitement? A short drive in Germany will do!
6. Beer. Nuf said.
7. The trains. They arrive on time! They are sleek, yes! And shiny!
8. German beverages. Such tasty snack drinks.
9. Tobacco. Or rather, the blends of tobacco sold to the German market.
10. The general lack of extreme prudishness. Who cares if you need to change your pants on the train anyway?
11. The straight forward attitude. There's very little passive aggression going on there, and I like it.
12. Modern technology, even for banking!
13. Language. I chuckle every time I hear the word flugzeug.
14. Roofs. You laugh, but Germany has some of the finest roofs of anywhere I've ever been.
15. Music. Well, you knew that anyway.
16. Bathrooms. Usually tiled, generous bathtubs, and exciting shower technology!
17. Beds. Fluffy!

Originally published at Don\'t talk to me about life....

Well, at least this week hasn't been boring. It seems as though nothing much happens for weeks on end, and then all these separate, slowly building things take off in a series of multi-colored explosions accompanied by the random tempo of drunken jazz.

So far, it's all mostly manageable. Oddly, I seem to have hit that sweet point in the stress scale where I have constant craziness going on, but it's still manageable, and therefore interesting, and therefore, it's hard to be depressed anymore (I don't have the time for that) and things haven't yet started to feel as though they are spinning completely out of control, so no massive burnout (yet?)

On the personal front, it is hard to even know what to say there. The week has been intense in a variety of ways, and I'm not sure all of them I feel comfortable writing about. I can say this, on Sunday H and I broke up. I am sad that it had to be now, because he is dealing with a lot of bullshit right now. I am sad that things didn't work out better. I still have no idea how I would have survived the winter had it not been for the companionship of H. It was good to know that I'm not completely doomed to forever shut out the possibility any sort of intimate relationship. Even if it didn't work out entirely right, it was good to be able to see that any sort of relationship was possible. And, I think I've got a good friend out of the deal. I just hope that I haven't somehow made things worse.

On top of that, there has been a lot of intenseness with a number of other people throughout the week. Jo's finally managed to wrangle the divorce papers from me (inexplicable sadness), My truck-driving sister, Joy, randomly popped into town twice (crazy random fun). On the latter, I expect to have more to say about that eventually, but that is beyond the scope of what I can write about now. All I can say for sure is that it has been an roller-coaster week in terms of people stuff, on the whole.

The weekend was sailing insanity, so I've been spending an assload of time on a boat, attempting not to get run over by ferries and generally improving my pirate-talking skills. I'm taking this cruising course, and it has munched up a lot of my time lately. It is really nice to get out on a boat. It's peaceful and pleasing in a good way. Kind of reminds me of hiking a bit. It's not crazy intense, but it's very satisfying to just blow around with the wind, and to see the city from the water.

In the midst of all of this, Joy randomly kept showing up in Toronto, as she's got school buses to deliver from NC (where two of my sisters live) to Toronto. How she gets these sweet gigs that let her visit us all so conveniently, I'll never know. I can only say that even though the time we got to spend together was brief, it was amazingly good to see her. We had a wild night on Sunday. After I was done w/sailing, I met Joy, Jo and Christina for food. Later Joy and I ended up taking a lot of muscle relaxants and "natural" sleep aid type thingies, then loopily hanging out at Shoppers, sniffing every brand of laundry detergent there, attempting to decide which of the cheaper detergents was least offensive to the nose. People were giving us odd looks, so we stumbled off again, and grabbed a bunch of falafel balls down the street. So we sat around eating balls, discussing many girly thingies, and then when I was about to pass out entirely, Joy gave me a fantastic back massage.

During the massage, she got all wiggy about a lump in my back. I was pretty sure it had always been there and was probably just a small cyst, but it had gotten bigger.

Because for some reason I always let my family's random health rantings get the better of me (the last time it resulted in me putting peroxide in my ears - thanks mom), all this led to a surprise surgery mid week. I decided to go to a Dr. and just have it checked out. By random chance, the referral Dr. was on site and had some time, and before I knew it, I had the vile, aforementioned lump cut out of my back - and was on my way back to work.

Also this week, my giant hex keys showed up. I was super thrilled. I think this says something about my unseemly love for the Fiat. I had lost the large 12mm key I needed for the oil pan, so I was unable to change my oil in PA last week, but rather wanted to have it done before driving to Buffalo Friday to go to Boston via plane. (Yeah, the week just keeps getting crazier and crazier.) Alas, as I was hanging off the side of the car, one foot on the key under the car, and putting my entire body into attempting to turn the plug out (fortunately, no one wandered by in that moment, because I probably looked thoroughly ridiculous), it occurred to me that I was doomed. I think the soft aluminum plug is permanently part of the oil pan, for better or for worse.

Of course, this meant spending even more money to purchase a fluid vacuum dodad to suck the oil out of the car via the dipstick tube. I'm hoping it'll show up before Friday, but the chance of that is truly minimal, so probably I am doomed. At least I will, eventually, be able to change the oil (I hope). It amazes me that such a simple task has gotten so out of hand.

Tonight I got in a shiny new air filter for the Fiat too. It should be good for performance, but I'm more excited about the fact that I can now easily get at the engine, because it frees up a ton of space compared to the old setup with the clunky air intake. I installed that tonight, and then, covered in grease, got a burrito to celebrate. I think the burrito slingers thought I was homeless - they went waaaaaaaaay overboard on the burrito.

Tomorrow is the big practical, on the water, sailing test. I wish I was feeling more prepared for that. Tomorrow I also have to decide whether to join the yatch club, or just keep making fun of Jo for it. Then I just have to get ready for a weekend of mayhem in Boston.

That is all. Really a pretty boring week otherwise.

Originally published at Don\'t talk to me about life....


I need a new bra.

Right now, my stomach hurts a lot, so it has been a bit of the day from hell in that way. I tried to sleep for a while, but I just had strange dreams where I was playing jazz on a Piano. It sounded really good, even though I was sure I was playing the wrong notes entirely, so that was confusing. I don't usually write like this, but I just don't care. I'm back in the software industry, and I am pretty sure that I don't like my job. Pumpkin peed on my book last night, out of spite. I just ripped a hole in my bra by mistake. The weather is still cold, and O'Cow is staring at me with the sort of beady-eyed intensely that only a stuffed, alcoholic cow can. My nose ring is causing massive problems. The gas company, also, finally remembered that I owe them lots of money - so that experiment failed. My sister sent me a message and I miss her.

I cry a too much lately.

I don't feel much about pigeons one way or the the other.

Don't worry, I still smile.


I need to work on doing it more, and so do you.

Like this, but with a somewhat more crazed expression!

:) :) :) :) :)

Originally published at Don\'t talk to me about life....


Tonight as I was roving the streets, as I tend to do, something didn't seem quite right. I just couldn't put my finger on it. I paused by a rubbish bin, outstretched my hand, and poked suspiciously at a layer of fake cotton snow. It was then that I put my finger on it.

There was fake snow everywhere. Apparently it's not enough that it's winter most of the year here. Even when it isn't, we feel the need to pretend like it is.

As I progressed further down the street, I made note of the cranes, cables, trucks, seedy looking men pushing carts of AV equipment, and a snow machine. Even further down the street, the fake snow turned into real fake snow. If you know what I mean.

I sometimes wonder if my entire life is destined to be lived in the midst of some movie production that I am not part of. It's as difficult to avoid the bagpipers in Toronto as it is to avoid stumbling upon a movie set. I thought Bloor street was relatively safe, but I was wrong, so very wrong.

And really, the snow, even knowing that it was fake, was kind of depressing.

I passed a truck that said, "City Concrete - Your concrete solution". It made me wonder what my concrete problem might be.

I have to go to bed soon, but I figured it might not be so bad to write something first. I haven't written in a long time. A lot is going on, but none of it is specifically thrilling. Here are some thoughts:

I really love my apartment. It is cozy, and cute, and an oasis of calm in the midst of a life that is full of confusion and worry.

I am into the third week of training at the new job. The amount of crap that I will and already am having to parse and deal with is already really stressing me out a fair bit. I wish I could be excited about it, but I'm not. I'm taking out this stress on my personal life in wacky ways that I wish I wasn't. On the positive side, I am looking forward to resolving some of my financial woes of late, and I work with some cool people. I just wish I could feel more confident about how this will all play out.

Additionally, I have finally finished putting together my application for Canadian Citizenship. I'll be mailing that all off tomorrow, and I'm pretty excited to be finally send that out. On the down side of things, it turns out the processing time for this sort of thing is a lot longer than I expected it to be. We're talking another 12 to 15 months of waiting, at least. It seems as though one must literally be in Canada for ten billion years before one may qualify for citizenship. Also, once this is in I have to notify the CIC of all status changes (the divorce will be oodles of fun, I'm sure) including if I need to leave the country for more than two consecutive weeks at a time. That's pretty lame. Boo, I say!

With all the stress of the new job, all the fun I was having starting to learn about electronics and math stuff is going rapidly out the window, as I am in no mood whatsoever to sit around on the computer after a long day of sitting around in front of the computer any more. I'm kind of sad and hoping I don't abandon it all-together, because it seems like something worth learning, but I just can't seem to handle it mentally right now. All I want to do right now when I come home is sit around and drool. Or hang out with people, or the boy. Sadly, everyone is busy. It sucks having friends with ambition.


I would really like to get outside and do some hiking, sailing, or some silly sport involving the bapping of balls over nets. Alas, everyone is really too busy, and that is sad. These things are a lot more fun to do with friends. I've tried playing volleyball/pingpong/tennis/badminton by myself, and it always ends in tears.

Also, I miss my family. They are awesome, and I miss them. Something must be done about all of this. For now, I will just have to suffice with my furry friends.

Speaking of furry friends: project "Get Pumpkin to Use the Robot" is going better than I thought it might be. This previously mentioned fact is probably only exciting to me.

Originally published at Don\'t talk to me about life....


And here I am, and it's raining

I have returned from my fun-filled Midwestern romp, and I am happy to be back in Toronto in a lot of ways, but I'm also feeling a sense of loss and loneliness that is only somewhat non-justifiable.

I had a great time in Erie hanging out with my very dear friends, but I feel as though somehow that visit was missing something, or not everything that should have been said was. Maybe I'm just PMSing, or letting annoyance/concern over a number of unrelated things overflow into my feelings about the trip right now. All I can say was that I have some of the best friends in the world, I miss them already, and I hope that they enjoyed seeing me as much as I enjoyed seeing them. I was a bit useless for most of the visit, but I think that was somewhat to be expected after the ridiculous boozefest in Cleveland.

There is some good news:

My doomsday device is now working. I would show you all a picture, but my life is pain and I have no functional camera worth mentioning. I didn't fry the LED driver chip like I was all worried that I had. I managed to put most of the circuit myself in Erie, and with one minor change and H's test code (cheating kind of, but hey) I have a crazy blinky light of doom :) The hap-hazard documentation that I made while trying to figure it all out is at http://heinous.org/wiki/Playing_with_an_8x8_Matrix_LED

It is fantastic to see H again. He makes me so happy. He took very good care of the cats for me while I was gone, and it is so nice to have someone who does such nice things for me. I'm pretty lucky on that front. Yep.

After a horrific nightmare, I have managed to confirm that Jo did not, indeed, have his life be ruined in some awful way. I sometimes let dreams concern me more than I should. Also, the fact that someone who looked suspiciously like the movie version of Lucius Malfoy was hanging out with Jo should have been a clue not to take the dream too seriously.

I found an awesome intro to electronics book at Radio Shack in Erie. Also, Mr. Evans is letting me borrow his fantastic book on engineering diagrams. I'm not sure how long this - try my hand at learning how to think like an engineer - phase is going to last, but it's good to be learning something, even if I'm pretty sure I'm not all that well suited to it.

Right now I'm sitting around with the cats trying to not be all gloomy. The video drivers on my laptop are breaking everything and I don't know how to fix it, which is one major source of annoyance. 96% of my CPU seems to belong to Xorg right now, and I am growing increasingly despondent, and quickly losing the will to live. I think it's the ATI driver being horrible, but I can't seem to get X to work at all without the driver. The original configuration that worked on install, just kills the entire display now, and I have to reboot to get video back. The same thing happens when I try just about anything else. Oh yeah, did I mention that this post would involve a thrilling rant about my laptop woes? I almost never do this, but I'm so annoyed, and so not in the mood to keep debugging this one. I just have to keep telling myself that, "All things has a cause, " and hope that my pass can provide me with some answers.

I can't believe that I'm starting a new job on Monday. I really hope things work out well. It seems like so many of the people I know who are working at this place are so frustrated with it, and I hope I haven't gotten myself into something ugly. Everyone assures me the department I am going into is fine and not filled with the same sorts of problems, but I'm not holding my breath.

I still wish I didn't have to do this.

Fortunately, I have Black Bush whiskey and two cats to console me tonight, if nothing else.

Originally published at Don\'t talk to me about life....


"All thing has a cause. Look into your pass for answer..."

Ah, the wisdom of the fortune cookie. Who can argue with this kind of logic?

So I'm somewhat de-conned and feeling slightly less annoyed at myself today, and a great deal less muddled due to copious amounts of sleep and some quality time spent on Erie' transit, which has made me realize how fantastic Toronto is! Ah angst, I seem to have so much of it lately. I don't know exactly how to fix that without moving to South America, however, so I suppose I will just muddle on.

Due to truck having electrical problems of doom, Micaela and I spent most of the day navigating Erie transit sloppily toward the mall. It's only a two hour bus ride both ways, so why not go say hi to Ruth on her lunch break? Wild times were had at Ruby Tuesday's, where I discovered something frightening...

Bottomless french fries.

Oh America. Land of the free, home of ridiculous food portions. Large is not enough, apparently we've moved onward to INFINITE french fry portions. The mind boggles. I'm pretty impressed though. As long as you have $8 and a way to get to the mall, you will never starve. There has to be a catch.

When we got home, exhausted from all that eating and sitting around on busses, I took a nap.

So there is a problem where I talk in my sleep sometimes. Micaela informed me that during my sleep this afternoon, I clearly said, "Oh em Gee." Sadly, I think I remember the point in the dream at which I said this (we were about to have a horrific car accident due to an illogical decision to switch drivers while driving down the freeway), and suspect she's probably right.

I have to go shoot myself now.

Originally published at Don\'t talk to me about life....