Mon, 28 Jun 2004top
i'm not insane!
So I was walking through the IKEA today, and Five for Fighting's "100 Years" was playing, which, for no particular reason, really, put me in an extraordinarily contemplative mood, and I began thinking about my five years out in the Midwest.
There is only one IKEA in the Chicagoland area, and it is perhaps the only IKEA in a 100 mile radius. Me and my roommate at the time used to make many futile forays there to hunt for furniture that we could afford. Which is stupid, if you stop to think about it. (Some of our best furniture ended up coming from the Salvation Army and from the dumpster outside our apartment.)
And so I had this weird thought (alluding to my diatribe about cookie-cutter chain stores) that, what if these stores were like portals to various location around the United States (and, I suppose, the entire world, even)? Like, let's say I enter the IKEA in Mission Valley (in San Diego) and go out an alternate exit. Given the nearly identical nature of many IKEAs throughout the nation, couldn't I end up somewhere else? Like Chicago (or more accurately, Schaumburg.)
Now before you say anything, look at the title of this entry.
Sun, 27 Jun 2004top
What is it about summer that makes me want to avoid human contact?
I am breaking one of my cardinal rules and I'm not going to a party I've been invited to. This despite the fact that the sun is out, the sky is blue, and it's basically a beautiful day, meteorogically speaking. And I don't even have a good reason not to go. I'm just sitting in my apartment (which is still in a state of utter chaos) staring at my laptop screen.
Sadly, this is exactly what a recent tarot reading of mine commented on. If I don't change my ways, I'm going to end up hopelessly and irrevocably alone and most likely insane.
And still I refuse to change.
Fri, 25 Jun 2004top
more than this
Is it really that unhealthy to love only what you do? Is it wrong to identify solely with your job, and to not have anything fulfilling outside of it?
I know the answer. I feel it in my gut. But to realize that there is nothing else as fulfilling outside of your job is an equally desolate thought.
I am floating in the void, here.
Now, for some weird (undoubtedly organic disease-related) reason, I get very anti-social during the summertime. I mean, it doesn't make me want to avoid people completely, but, let's say if people call me, or even IM me, I just don't want to reply. I can't explain it. It's some kind of Axis II diagnosis, I'm sure. Some kind of anxiety disorder. And the happy purple pills don't work on Axis II problems.
So, instead of hanging out and meeting people, I hunker down in my 1-bedroom apartment and brood. About what, I don't know. Well, that's not true. It's just difficult to ponder nothingingness. To ponder this emptiness existing outside of my job.
So, yeah, I know, get a hobby. Sure. Well, there's this blog, but despite being broadcast throughout the nether reaches of the Googlescape, it is nonetheless a lonely endeavor. The number of automated bots that visit this site and leave spam-spoor vastly outnumber the few readers of this blog, by several magnitudes of order, in fact.
So I could go out. Which used to give me such joy, however ill-considered and occasionally disastrous at times.
But, as I've whined about before, I really can't do this thing again. I'm just burnt out. I can't go out and meet people and make new friends just one more time. Whether it's some form of insanity, or whether I'm just pathologically lazy, I don't know. But my heart quails at the thought of calling some person up, on the pretext that I have some tenuous connection with them because of work, and ask them if they want to hang-out. Hell, if you think about it, I can't do that easily with my established friends.
There is, without a doubt, something seriously wrong with me.
The trick is, I suppose, to figure out how to get over it before the ever-ticking clock finally runs down, signalling my probable complete mental implosion.
I live in dread of the stark realization that no man is an island, and that human contact is as necessary as air, water, and food for survival. I'd love to be part of the human race somehow, but I just can't seem to figure out how to do it in a way that doesn't paralyze me with fear and self-loathing.
Everything eventually comes down to do-or-die, no?
Wed, 23 Jun 2004top
magic eye trick
Ah, the wonders of plaintext. Just focus on the R's at the bottom and cross your eyes so that they fuse into one, like with a normal magic eye puzzle.top
retrograde consolidation 3
Retrograde consolidation is a clumsy term, but I'm too lazy to think of something better.
Anyway, this title caught my attention: The Location Field Is the New Command Line.
The article goes on to point out that web applications are fundamentally different from desktop applications—the advantages of the web do not trump the advantages of the desktop, but, as anyone familiar with UNIX would understand, it's all about using the right tool for the job. Do one thing, and do it well.
Mon, 21 Jun 2004top
Fact of the matter: IE is old. In fact, in a techie world governed by Moore's Law, it's downright ancient. To mix metaphors, why-oh-why would you keep driving a 1976 Dodge Colt when you could have a 2005 BMW M4 for free?
Firefox is fast, standards-compliant, available for many platforms, and because it is not intertwined into the OS, does not make your OS any more susceptible to Trojan horses and spyware than it already is. I can't think of any reason to continue using IE, nor any reason not to use Firefox.
Thu, 17 Jun 2004top
the end of the microsoft desktop era
With the insane delay of Longhorn and the current reality of the web-dominated Internet, many bloggers are trumpeting the end of an age.
Gone are the days of the Microsoft monopoly on the desktop. Not because they were vanquished by Open Source Software or the eye-candy magic of Apple, but because the desktop itself is in many ways obsolete.
(As an aside: the funny thing is that the Desktop metaphor is a relatively recent concept, as far as computer technology goes, while thin-clients running server-side apps has a much longer pedigree. Witness the very first operating systems, which then lead to UNIX, which spawned technology that respected the client-server relationship like X Window, and which now runs almost all of the Web. The Desktop—which was probably first explicitly commercially implemented by Apple—is, in retrospect, an interregnum in the history of computing. I also conveniently lump the revolutionary 8-bit personal computers with the Desktop metaphor. While these harbingers of the Information Age did not have GUIs, they were nonetheless non-multitasking OSes with no native support for networking.)
Somewhat relatedly, lower down on the list is Why You Should Dump Internet Explorer.
While I agree that Microsoft probably has way too much money to be completely done anytime this century, Windows itself will go the way of the dinosaur, and computing as we know it will cease to exist.
Tue, 15 Jun 2004top
I didn't feel a thing, but the DJs on one of the radio stations commented on it. I wonder if surfers noticed if the waves changed?top
So this is what my life is reduced to.
I have been living out of a suitcase for pretty much two weeks now, my soul scattered across three cities. (I have this image of a blue amoeba-like thing splattering upon some hard black surface, coalescing into three parts, which are now futilely trying to come back together.) I think I am gaining some insight into why the narrator of Fight Club essentially goes insane from having to fly from city to city to city.
Especially with these prefab anchor stores. Borders. Barnes and Noble. Starbucks. Old Navy. Target. Each particular store is purposefully built according to some master plan. I recognize that the rationale is so that, no matter what city you're in, you won't feel lost within these franchises. Unfortunately, I feel like what this does is make you forget what city you're in. So I know where the clearance rack is, but I don't know where on earth I am.
I really think that constant repetition and uniformity causes insanity. Which, I suppose, explains why the world is now the way it is, but I digress….
I'm running on faith and hope these days. Which, I must say, is no mean feat when you're an avowed cynic.
Mon, 14 Jun 2004top
neurotic little lists
I never used to do this, but I guess my latent type A personality is coming out in bits and pieces. I write these things out like some kind of incantation to ward off bad luck and evil spirits. You would think it would make me more productive, but I promptly lose them, forcing me to rewrite them over and over again.
How's that for magical thinking? For obsessive-compulsive personality disorder?
I never used to believe in lists. I figure if something is important enough, it'll just stay in your head. If you truly know something, understand it, you won't need to write it down.
So it's more for comfort's sake. Despite the fact that I lose my lists within 24 hours, it somehow eases the anxiety.
I'm clearly losing it.
Sun, 13 Jun 2004top
neither increasing nor decreasing in this stillness lines drawn arbitrarily values assigned out of my control
who am i to say that this line leads to my destiny?
arguing with the vague voices that whisper in the moments between sleep and awakening considering this point or the other leading to a handful of loose ends tangled knots, twisted braids and nothing but rope burns from trying to hold on to everything it falls from my grasp
the lingering feeling of the touch of a hand no longer there
fullness known only by this empty vacuum completeness understood by being achingly unwhole infinity bounded by limitations everything is cut short
can there really be enough little things to fill these vast durations? enough to keep my mind at bay hold down the roiling waves of darkness lapping at my feet enough wonder in these small triumphs? enough light in these tiny flickers? inspiration, recognition, understanding connection
thin wispy lines, and all-but-invisible dots over and under the horizon i have faith only in that which is uncertain
Wed, 09 Jun 2004top
LAX to ORD
So I wait at this airport for the last time for a long time, listening to the Muzak being pumped over head. (Goddamn, that shit is loud.) I swear, with all this back and forth, there ain't no way that my soul is gonna catch up to me.
I suppose that, as long as I can remember, June has meant transition, organized around the notion of the academic year. But I suppose other sorts of crazy things have happened this time of year, dreams shattered, but hopes kindled, and (as clichéd as it sounds) nothing is ever the same.
The veritable singularity. The mathematical catastrophe.
Infinities divided by infinities, zero divided by zero.
It never ends.
Yes, it is just before 5am, and I am ranting and raving deliriously. I just feel so, so…incomplete.
Something, I suppose, is always missing.
Just when you thought you've gotten used to it…
One of these days, I just wish something would work out without me having to lose too much blood and skin.
Tue, 08 Jun 2004top
I am beginning to think that aspartame makes me depressed. Either that or caffeine. Time for a science experiment, I suppose.
It doesn't help that despite me being (transiently) in Southern California, the sun is refusing to come out.
I don't think that any of this is a big deal, really (what "this" is, I'm not willing to divulge at this particular time) but, I suppose it could become a big deal.
I'm not even going to go there. I'm just going to get into my car and start driving.
Mon, 07 Jun 2004top
It doesn't ever end, does it?
When will I ever learn to value my own happiness?
When will I come up with a good reason for why I'm not doing what everyone keeps telling me I should do?
"I don't wanna" just doesn't seem to cut it, coming from a 27 year old man.
It's always a bad sign when I can't find any way at all to express how awfully frustrated I am these days.
Strange this. I came back to Southern California this past December utterly sick of the Midwest, exhausted and hurting with loneliness, feeling defeated by the darkness and the bitter cold.
But now that I realize that I might never get to go back out there for a long time, I can't help but feel sad.
Of course I guess it's natural. A lot of people don't like getting displaced, getting uprooted, even if where they are is not necessarily the best environment for them. Especially when I feel like I haven't said my proper goodbyes.
So I suppose a lot of my melancholy is simply the confusion of disorientation.
No matter how much I wax nostalgic, a part of me realistically understands that another winter out there just might kill me.
That, despite how familiar and home-like those city streets had become, no matter how at ease I felt wandering that land with no mountains, there is a reason that my journey begins again and heads out in another direction.
While time and again I might whine about not ever finding Home, about how I'm tired of being a vagabond aimlessly criscrossing the Paths of Life, I know that there is a part of me that is glad to be on the Road again.
The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, And I must follow, if I can, Pursuing it with eager feet, Until it joins some larger way Where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say.
—from the The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
I travel again to a new place, with some trepidation. I'm not sure if I can take another few months of isolation and alienation, of withstanding the darkness all alone again.
I grant that the winter nights won't be so long and dark where I'm going, but you can't escape the darkness.
I feel it lingering there beneath the surface, ready to snare me if I delve too deep.
This year has been all about crossroads.
As Ferris Bueller said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
Four years from now, I have a feeling that I'll be staring at this screen, wondering where the hell all the time went.
Carpe diem, I suppose. Someday I'm just going to have to understand Sisyphus (and Camus) and finally learn how to live in the moment.