Mon, 31 Jan 2005

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redesign

I got tired of the way my old site looked. I was never really happy with it, actually. So this is what I've been working on for the past week in fits and starts. The actual amount of time I worked on it probably adds up to no more than a couple of hours at most, but what took up most of the time was the setup. Which is what most rational people would call procrastination.

I don't know what my problem is. I always have to go through some elaborate and excruciatingly painful mental ordeal before I can start a task, no matter how inane and superfluous the task is. Typically, the "setup" takes at least five times more time than the actual task itself.

anyway. I decided to go with the "less is more" dictum. Of course, I'll be perpetually tweaking it until I break it or until I decide I'm sick of dealing with it.

the lengths I go to torture myself are breathtaking sometimes.

11:53:20 31 Jan 2005 > /meta > permalink > 1 comments

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GNOME build order

This entry is obsolete. See GNOME 2.9.91 build order for updates.

I'm trying to build GNOME for MacOSX via Fink, so I'm documenting the process by which I built the packages, and the .info and .patch files.

  1. glib 2.6.1
  2. atk 1.9.0
  3. pango 1.8.0
  4. gtk+ 2.6.1
  5. at-spi 1.6.2
  6. libart2 2.3.17
  7. libglade 2.5.0
  8. libgnomecanvas 2.9.1
  9. gail 1.8.2
  10. libIDL 0.8.4
  11. ORBit 2.12.0
  12. libbonobo 2.8.0
  13. libgnomeprint 2.8.2
  14. libgnomeprintui 2.8.2
  15. gconf 2.9.2
  16. gnome-mime-data-2.4.2
  17. howl 0.9.10
  18. gnome-vfs 2.9.90
  19. audiofile 0.2.6
  20. esound 0.2.35
  21. libgnome 2.9.1
  22. libbonoboui 2.8.0
  23. libgnomeui 2.9.1
  24. libgail-gnome 1.1.0

10:23:39 31 Jan 2005 > /computers/gnome > permalink > 1 comments

Thu, 27 Jan 2005

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time runs out

Currently Playing: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Original Soundtrack

So today is my last day in this isolated place. I really didn't do much at all today. I ended up buying a sweater because I just realized that I went up to Central and Northern California in January without a sweater or a jacket. Very stupid. So I ended up paying an arm and a leg, but at least now I have a souvenir of this silly trip.

I also drove around the residential areas of town just to have a look around, and walked along the cliffs overlooking the ocean. Nothing too exciting. Today was the day I was supposed to have some creative output, but that unsurprisingly didn't happen, and I instead ended up surfing the web as usual. Sucky.

I at least ripped through a couple of books these past few days. All nerdy stuff, of course. I finally read Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan, which is set in a futuristic San Francisco. The McGuffin is that death has essentially been abolished, as people can simply upload their personalities into new bodies (for a price, of course) but in essence, it is a detective story. Very cyberpunk and Bladerunner-esque. I then read The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore, who happens to have once lived in Cambria. In fact, the setting he uses in this book is Cambria, except that he gives it the pseudonym of Pine Cove. It was very entertaining to be reading it while actually being here. It made me wonder about some of the locals I came across. Finally, I zipped through Faster than Light which is a non-fiction book written by Joao Magueijo who is a Portuguese physicist who is intent on one-upping Albert Einstein himself. The guy's sense of humor is over-the-top, and he not only discusses science in layman terms, but also lashes out at the academic establishment using quite colorful language. I found myself laughing my ass off. The book also made me regret the fact that I never learned calculus—if I had, I might have become a physicist, but then again, I don't think I have the temperament for the cutthroat world of academia.

All in all, it's been quite a relaxing stay. I've done as close to nothing as I think is humanly possible. I really don't think I'm ready to return to civilization quite yet. Ah well.

21:28:23 27 Jan 2005 > /soul > permalink > 0 comments

Wed, 26 Jan 2005

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atascadero and back

I realized that I didn't have my charger for my phone (I swear I brought it with me) so I had to go and get one. This required me to go inland.

Playlist for the journey:

  1. Brian Eno - Deep Blue Day
  2. Dream Academy - Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want (this is the instrumental version that they play in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" while they're traipsing through the Art Institute in Chicago, which is a cover of the Smiths)
  3. M83 - In Church (Cyann & Ben Version)

So nothing exciting there. Highway 46 from Highway 1 to Highway 101 is very pretty, particularly after the rains, with the verdant grass and the low-lying clouds. It's about 26 miles or so, not too windy. A lot of the Central Coast wineries are along side this highway, but I have yet to stop at any of them. I don't remember what year exactly that was, but at least 10 years ago or so, I went down this highway with my family to go see Hearst Castle, which is disgustingly opulent, but I guess worth seeing once in your life. (I forget how much admission was.)

Right before sunset, I decided to go find the Point Piedras Blancas lighthouse, which is, unfortunately, not open to the public. I did, however, get to watch the elephant seals and watch the sun set with the lighthouse in view.

It is apparently mating season among the seals, and it is really easy to tell the difference between males and females. Males have a characteristic snout which earned them the name of elephant seals, while females don't. One of the males was trumpeting and trying to approach some of the females, no doubt in an attempt to copulate. The females would bellow in protest, try to bite the male, and fling sand at his eyes. This happened with three different females. The male eventually gave up, moved away from the females, and lay on the sand like a log. I couldn't help but feel sympathetic. Heh.

18:26:26 26 Jan 2005 > /soul > permalink > 1 comments

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executive dysfunction syndrome

it's bizarre how they pretty much have a name for everything, how it has become fashionable to call every little personality quirk a syndrome.

take executive dysfunction, for example. it refers to a kind of frontal lobe problem, basically a sub-type and/or differential diagnosis for ADHD. it really just means those times when you have too many things to do or so many choices to make that you don't know what to do next and so you just freeze up and let everything go to hell.

so now we enter the whole nurture-vs-nature debate. whenever someone coins a fancy name like ADHD or executive dysfunction syndrome, the next thing that comes up is, whose fault is it? (and the lawyers come of the woodwork…)

but that is beside the point at this stage.

as they say, you can't put the shit back into the horse.

of course, it's easy to rationalize and point to my procrastinating tendencies as the root cause of all my problems, which is kind of silly. i know for a fact that i can cure myself of my procrastination and still have a lot of problems. problems are like the molecules of an ideal gas: they expand as necessary to fill up the entire space.

it's hard to want to cure myself of my malady, too. after all, i've gotten by these 28 years OK. sure, there have been plenty of rough spots and tight squeezes, but that's life, right?

the problem with this particular malady is that it fucks with motivation. try as one might, it would be hard to get me to change without some serious jedi mind tricks, or maybe electroconvulsive therapy. with a problem like this, someone could threaten to kill me if i don't fix my problem, and i'd probably just lock up and let them shoot me in the head right there.

such is the nature of this beast.

shit.

one of these days i'm just going to have to figure things out, grow up, and act like a responsible adult.

right.

09:54:10 26 Jan 2005 > /soul > permalink > 6 comments

Tue, 25 Jan 2005

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how the story ends

So I finished reading through most of the e-mail I sent to N when we broke up. It's kind of funny to be reading just half the conversation and yet still getting the full emotional impact without knowing what the response was.

It's also kind of weird to be reading your own writing from a truly detached perspective. I am certainly not the same person who wrote those sad, heart-wrenching, gut-churning missives. I may still be currently clinically depressed, but I've also got a decades worth of baggage on top of it all.

I am clearly going to be alone for the rest of my life. Ah well.

What is sad and pathetic is that in my chronological writing—from e-mails to the handwritten notes I kept to my blog in its multiple incarnations, I just keep coming back to the topic of how hopelessly alone I feel, how wretched this singular existence is, and how helpless I feel about being able to do anything about it.

What I have recently accepted is that I just don't want to deal with it. In some ways, it's a manifestation of executive dysfunction syndrome. Of knowing precisely what I have to do, and yet not doing it. It's not just this, not just meeting people. It's a lot of things. I realize that the way I have learned to cope with stress is to freeze up when there's too much pressure on me. To just fall apart.

It's amazing that I've gone through all of these disasters, many at least partially caused by my own hand, still to have made some plodding progress in life. Looking back, I sort of wonder how I managed to escape psychotherapy. You'd think that someone as depressed or at least as dysthymic as I am would've been noticed. It's easy to wallow in self-pity and say that it's just that no one cares, but maybe if I hadn't been so highly functioning, they would've picked me up.

Sometimes I wonder if being put under general anesthesia as a little kid didn't nuke parts of my brain.

Whatever. It's the hand I'm dealt, I guess.

22:35:04 25 Jan 2005 > /soul > permalink > 1 comments

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masochism

On R's advice (as you can see, I am very suggestible), I headed up to the Central Coast and am hanging around Cambria and vicinity (which includes such places as Cayucos, San Simeon, Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo, Atascadero, Templeton, and Paso Robles, among others.) Mostly, I just want to stare at the sea. (There is clearly something very wrong with me.)

I was supposed to take this time and focus my thoughts. Maybe try to figure out what I need to do with my life. Maybe even put some ideas down to paper (or at least HTML.) Ambitious things like that.

Instead, I find myself combing through old things I have written and then abandoned, briskly written snippets that fail to develop plot or character, or skeletal summaries of what I want to happen, with very little actual text to back it up. This activity has rapidly degenerated into reading old e-mails. I actually have a lot of messages archived all the way back to 1998. I have some stray e-mails from college (1994-1998) but most of them I wiped out deliberately. Lots of painful, ridiculous shit. Interestingly, though, I have a pretty thorough archive of the e-mails I composed in 1995 and 1996. These chronicle my disastrous breakup with N and my subsequently even more disastrous infatuation with A. After that, my non-existent love life is documented mostly on paper, although I've blogged a few pointless episodes here and there.

I must say, it is interesting to note how I have dealt with a decade of being alone.

In other words, I haven't learned a goddamned thing.

But reading through those tortured e-mails is really interesting from a textual point-of-view. The progression from those blood-drenched, tear-stained epistles of utter despair, to my initial foray into blogging, to my current writing style is kind of amusing to observe. In a lot of ways, my writing has actually changed for the worse. But I think I am a lot saner now. I've still got a full-blown Axis I disorder to contend with, but at least now I'm on medication. Heh.

I was suffering from a little trepidation. I've been asking myself what the hell I'm doing here in Cambria, but now I think it's for the best. It's a nice isolated place where no one can bother me (because my cel phone has absolutely no reception) And I can stare at the sea until I'm cross-eyed. There were perhaps other ways to achieve this sense of solitude, but I'm satisfied. Thanks, R.

20:41:36 25 Jan 2005 > /soul > permalink > 10 comments

Sun, 16 Jan 2005

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last unicorn

My top result for the SelectSmart.com selector,
Which Last Unicorn character are you?,
is Prince Lir

Figures.

"And all for nothing," he said. "I cannot touch her, whatever I do."

14:41:30 16 Jan 2005 > /blog-bites/quizilla > permalink > 7 comments

Sat, 15 Jan 2005

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she looks

where did that come from, that look, like "yikes!" or "i don't know what's going to happen, but we'll find out soon enough," like lightning flash, freeze framing everything searing it into my retinas recognition like an elbow to the head where have i seen that before a hundred lifetimes ago perhaps this infinitely unraveling distance between us sending me spinning and twirling out into space no, not us, there is no us but this memory of a dream and the things that I've happened to pin upon your visage shimmering in my mind half-remembered things that never were striking true in some backhanded fashion

i wake from my dreams frightened whether good or ill not remembering which way the world is supposed to turn has my dream ended, and have I wakened? or do i sleep, and still dream?

i still don't know what's going to happen but, as you've never said to me, we'll find out soon enough

21:47:36 15 Jan 2005 > /poetry > permalink > 3 comments

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more to life

I feel really out of sync right now. I just don't feel right, and it's nothing I can explicate by blogging. I feel like I need to sit still upon it, bore holes into the issue, and figure out where I'm going wrong.

Whether it's the madness of the past year that has finally caught up to me, the legendary wall looming up ahead, or whether it's simply the fact that things have been so tight that I haven't even been able to keep up with my medication, in some ways, I feel like I'm falling to pieces, and I just don't know why.

Thank God I have a vacation coming up. I don't know how I'm going to survive these next 4 days of work.

21:30:26 15 Jan 2005 > /soul > permalink > 8 comments

Wed, 12 Jan 2005

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goodbye

My dog died two weeks ago.

She was pretty old, having just turned 14, and she had been sick for quite a while. I only really saw her when I'd come home to visit, and I guess I feel guilty for not playing with her and paying attention to her as much as I could.

I've been really busy lately, I haven't had time to think about it, but I really miss her, even though I know she's lived quite a long life for a dog her size, even though I took her for granted in her twilight years. There is something sadly missing when I come home now.

In the end, I guess it just reminds me of my own mortality. At 28, you would think this would be the last thing on my mind, but I guess this past month has been pretty emotionally trying at the hospital. Three of the patients I took care of died, two of whom went to the ICU, one of whom had a cardiac arrest (which was what ended up sending him to the unit.) All three of them had been previously well—for their aga—and highly functioning in terms of activities of daily living. Two of them, I still don't really know what killed them, and I'm not sure if anyone really does.

One of the cases I think really affected me in ways that I am not effectively expressing. I spent a lot of time working on him, and I talked to his family pretty much daily, and I was (perhaps foolishly) hopeful. This guy was only 49, and he ended up dying on Christmas Day, when his family decided to withdraw care in the ICU after he had had a cardiac arrest. I was the first one there at the code, and I remember feeling completely helpless, not knowing what to do. It was probably no more than a few seconds before someone else showed up to run the code, but those few seconds felt like eternity. That's all I really remember about those 30 hours of call that night—that sinking feeling of not knowing what to do,of feeling helpless and stupid and just feeling hopelessly tired.

Self-doubt, guilt, abject depression. Those are some of the emotions that I carry from that day. My dog dying sort of just topped it all off.

We all die. That's probably the only certain thing in our lives. (I suppose they say taxes are just as inevitable, too.) I think it's twisted how Western society, and American society in particular have managed to turn a perfectly normal part of life into this ugly horrible thing.

I wish we weren't all so afraid of it.

I think about the story my mom and dad tell me of my dog's last days, of how she was in too much pain to even get out of her doghouse, how she wouldn't eat. How they just found her lying cold and still, how she probably succumbed when no one was around. The Department of Sanitation carried off her corpse. All that's left in the yard is her house, and that palpable emptiness.

14 years, 49 years, and certainly 75 years are long times, and still, death seems like "Poof!" and it's all gone.

Where do all those thoughts and feelings go? That's what I wonder. What is the awful, profound process by which matter goes from being sentient to just a pile of flesh?

Morbid stuff.

In the end, I hate feeling so helpless. There's nothing I could've done to stop any of these deaths, and yet, for some reason, I feel like I should've done something. I'm not so solipsistic to think, "why bother?" because I know that no matter what, every tiny thing makes a difference, but I'm at a loss to explain what happened to me this past month.

Suicidal depression just seems like a selfish luxury these days.

I feel fucking old, and it has nothing to do with the number of years that have elapsed thus far.

22:43:08 12 Jan 2005 > /soul > permalink > 5 comments

Mon, 10 Jan 2005

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silence

brain gasps, grasps, futile struggle, gripping, fingers digging, crumble fall

we spin so far out of control, brute force of a landslide, an avalanche crushing gravity

even light cannot escape

still my soul glitters like the spewed-forth remnants of a giant supernova star guts strewn across the heavens like a gruesome motorcycle accident or mauling by a lion God's entrails hanging from its mouth

even in beauty there is a reminder of death

spend all of life avoiding the only thing worth wanting the tired silence of the grave regrets not of life but of not living

the seconds pass like tiny diamonds falling into the drainpipe into the sewer flushed down like shit and toiletpaper gold scattered about carelessly like dandelion fluff like cigarette butts and ashes

Do I grieve the inevitable? that final passage into the long, dark loneliness of forever? Or do I weep that I have nothing to fill this time with but lifeless words dropped like cold stone from my lips

22:36:31 10 Jan 2005 > /poetry > permalink > 4 comments

Sat, 01 Jan 2005

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reason

what is it like to have that sense of purpose, that burning force, that blessed fire, that animates your sinews? what is it like to desire, keeping you whole even against the shearing forces of adversity, the crushing weight of the universe, the downward pull of futility?

what is it like to be driven by the brilliant clarity of wanting, even against insurmountable odds, even against all reason? what is it like—i think i knew once upon a time, before time itself grew treacherous—to be able to hope when there is no hope?

the will to fight, when fate tries to suffocate you, when fortune seeks to break every bone in your body?

i am much too young and certainly nowhere near wise enough to be considered old, but definitely not young enough to not know any better. these days, i just want to lie down and grow still, let destiny maul me, let inevitability rend me limb from limb, scattering the sparks of my soul, flickering out and fading into bitter ash.

if i still knew how to dream, days like today wouldn't faze me at all.

23:38:34 1 Jan 2005 > /soul > permalink > 0 comments

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not feeling right

maybe it's just the fact that i've slept 2 hours, no more than 15 minutes contiguously, in the past 40 hours, but i keep getting this "squeaky" feeling in my head, kind of like the sound of metal scraping against metal. the hypochondriac in me keeps worrying about blowing a blood vessel in my brain, but i really don't feel good.

22:45:55 1 Jan 2005 > /soul > permalink > 0 comments