7 November 1999

I win.
I got a new webspace provider that gives me alot more for less. 100MB of space, 5GB transfer allowance, 25 pop accounts, unlimited forwarding… all for $20 a month. It rocks.
So I went to a party last night, mostly just a party by a couple of friends, but I found out later that it was doubling as the birthday party for the leader of the Anti-Squadleader Society (or ASS). But fear not… The Squadleader prevailed.
The party wasn’t all about the clash though… it was about drinking, and talking, and being physically attacked. One should never have to yell, “God dammit! She bit me!” Biting can be fun, and playful, especially in foreplay. But unless both participants are willing (or in a fight) there should never be blood drawn. People who get violent (either intentionally or unintentionally) when drunk should not get drunk. You should never ever exceed your limits. Having less control is fine, having no control is not.
And that leads to another incident at the party, and a problem that I have. One girl got sick – too much alcohol. Partly I’d say it was the guy mixing her drinks that did it, but also because occationally this girl doesn’t pay attention to her limits. Well, she gets sick, and I instantly sober up. A buzzkill. All I can think about is making sure she is okay.
I’ve done this before, I do this alot. In fact, the last time was at a party the leader of ASS threw. Great party… up until people started passing out. 11 by night’s end. And one of them almost didn’t make it. One of them stopped breathing, and because I’m the mother hen, I was still up at 8 a.m. when it happened and watching over this moron passed out in the back yard. I didn’t panic, I resusitated him, he puked on my face. And the ASS master who was sleeping when this happened (burned out on drugs) has never said ‘thank you’ for my preventing his getting into deep shit if the moron had died in the back yard.
… breathe in … hold ……… breathe out … calm … centered … peaceful .
Sorry, some things just get me going, and this is still one of those soft spots. One that’s never going to heal until I’m okay with it, because I know that the person who could end this with 2 words… never will.

26 October 1999

Oy vey!
Sometimes you just can’t win. I’ve been fighting with my webspace provider. They said I had too much stuff, so I paid for more space, they still haven’t updated the server security files so I can’t use the extra space. I had to take a bunch of pictures off line just so I can do regular updates… but I digress.
Now on to the .plan… Halloween… Halloween and stupid parents.
In a town near where I live they town council, PTA, and others are getting together to vote… nothing important, just voting if Halloween should be celebrated, in other words Trick-or-Treating, on Saturday since the real Halloween is on Sunday.
What a bunch of stupid garbage to be wasting time voting on. What’s next?? Voting to hold the 4th of July on the 6th because the 4th is on a Wednesday?? Voting to move New Year’s Eve to December 29th because it’s a Friday, not a Sunday, and that way people can get drunk and party and not worry about missing work??
It’s a holiday. Holidays are on a certain day of the year for a reason, and they should stay there.
It hasn’t always been this way. When I was a child, it could be Sunday night, pitch black, raining, and cold, and my parents would still let us dress up and go out into the dark with our bags to fill with candy. Why can’t parents today be reasonable? Their parents let them go out, so why can’t their kids go out?
Let me dispell a myth or two about the world that causes alot of parents to be bad parents:
1. There are no more psychos, murderers, rapists, kidnappers, and the like then there were when you were growing up. It only looks that way because the story about that kid who gets picked up in a van and never comes home again in Podunk, Idaho used to stay in Podunk, Idaho, or only came to the rest of the world as an Urban Legend, only now, thanks to the wonders of Cable TV and stuff like the Internet, you get to see the local news casts and read local news when you don’t even live there. In fact, in all honesty, the world is probably a little bit safer these days (with the exception of areas that have gang problems) then when you were growing up. Its okay to let your kid ride off on a bike without training wheels and not wearing his helmet, kneepads, elbowpads, and bulletproof vest with some of the other neighborhood kids, because in all likelihood, he’s going to come home just fine. There is being protective of your kid, and then there is the point where YOU become the psycho.
2. You don’t HAVE to be a two income household. There are many families that get by on one income. Being a parent brings with it a certain amount of sacrifice. Not just what you would give to save your child, but what you will give to have your child. Get a station wagon and give up the Lexus, or just go so far as to own one car instead of two. Shop in bulk. Get Levi’s instead of those Versace orginal denim pants. Clip coupons. Eat out less. One of you see them off to school, and one of you be home when they come back (take turns or one of you do both). If you find that you really do NEED a second income, find something you can do from home. My mother sorted coupons for a company when they came back redeemed, somtimes she worked at the office, but when needed, she brought home a box of coupons and sorted them at home (and even used them for discipline, “You stop hitting your brother or you’ll have to help sort coupons!”). Have that one less working person means that you can actually spend time with your child. And if you do that, the chances that they get a shotgun and some pipe bombs and go blow up their school will go way way WAY down. Guaranteed.
In this country people have a tendancy to blame everything but themselves for their mistakes. If you don’t own your mistakes, they will own you. TV, movies, books, music… these things have never caused a kid to do anything violent or stupid, only 2 things have ever cause a kid to be stupid… a) he’s a kid and its how kids learn, make mistakes, take responsibility, and learn from them, or b) bad parenting. But bad parenting is something that is a personal demon. It belongs to one person, and no one likes to admit they were wrong (entire bookstore sections, and a dozen TV shows are based on people avoiding problems). People in a large group, especially the media and society as a whole, never want to point a finger at the parents and say, “You didn’t play with your kids, so they killed 20 people.” People in large groups are easily swayed. For some reason, a group of the smartest people on the planet will still listen and probably accept as true what the most stupid person among them has to say.
Parents… and Parents-to-be… wake up… wake up and raise your children. Good parents… bad parents… any parents are better than no parents at all.
…and Halloween is on October 31st. Deal with it.

16 October 1999

If you get angry and there is no one to yell at, did you really get angry at all?
A couple days ago, as I’m coming out of work, just wanting to go home, relax a little, then head out to raise a few glasses with my friends, I happen to notice that there is this big orange sticker on my driver’s side window.
Then I see the boot on my front tire.
I park in a parking lot that costs me $2 a day. And I pay, begrudgingly, every day. And I had paid that day. But to pay for parking at the lots in downtown Atlanta, often you just slide money into a numbered slot on a big metal board. You see, it costs $5 or more a days to park in a lot with an attendant.
Anyhow, I know I had put my money in that morning, but in the haze of waking up I may have put it in the wrong slot. So now it becomes their word against mine. And I’m pissed, largely because I know I am screwed big time. I have no way out of this and its going to cost me, AND I WASN’T WRONG TO BEGIN WITH!!!
But there is no parking attendant, no one to yell at, so I just start yelling at nothing. The air.. the sky.. God. I’m yelling like a madman and kicking the ground and the boot, and generally making an ass out of myself… if there had been anyone to see me. That’s the meat of this .plan. Just being angry and having no one to even vent to. The rest is me just venting. 🙂
I call the 800 number on the big orange sticker, and talk to a very pleasant woman, who starts asking me questions that I feel shouldn’t need to be asked. In this day and age, when they boot my car, they should get my license plate number and car make, model and color, and call into a central office and have the stuff entered into a large database that includes which lot it was in, the exact address, and anything else they might need. To be honest, in this day and age, the guy who puts on the boot should have a little computer in his van that allows him to do this directly.
But noooOOOOoooo… this woman on the phone, who isn’t even located in Atlanta, asks me where I am. “Well, I’m in the parking lot.” But she wants the address. “It’s on a street in Atlanta.” She wants me to be specific. “Look, I work in a building down the street at (building address) and I park at this lot, I don’t know the address of the lot. Shouldn’t YOU know?” Then she explains she isn’t in Atlanta, doesn’t know the area, and doesn’t even know how long it should approximately take for the guy to show up to remove the boot. Then she asks me for my license plate number, make and model of the car… oh, and the color.
Then she politely says “If you could please stand in the parking lot next to your car, it will make ev
erything easier.” I’m about to give her the whatfor and tell her what would make it easier, but I hold it and just hang up.
An hour later, this little punk in a white van pulls up and opens his window about 2 inches. He asks how I’m going to pay, and I try to tell him my story. Of course, he’s heard it all before, but I’m telling the truth. Either way, turns out he doesn’t care because the company that boots the cars is contracted by the parking lot company, so he can’t do anything anyway. Then he informs me that he will not get out of the car until I have paid.
So I pay. $95. Parking in that rinky-dink lot cost me $97. It’s a scam.
But I learned a couple important lessons, the most important being how to remove a boot. Next time they boot me, I’m keeping it. 🙂

15 October 1999

Well, I do have tons to write, but I never seem to have time to write it.
For now, let me just give a quick list of things I’m going to hit in the next week or so.
Women in Prison: The single greatest film genre ever.
It’s Not a Wonderful Life since “It’s a Wonderful Life” doesn’t come on 40,000 times at Christmas.
The Glass isn’t half empty or half full.
If you get angry and there is no one to yell at, did you really get angry at all.
The Freedoms of having your own place.
Swearing: the power of words.
That’s all I’ve got on my things to do list. But for now, I need to go to work.
“Can’t be king of the world if you’re slave to the grind.” -Sebastian Bach

11 October 1999

So today I made out this list of things that I wanted to tackle in my .plans. Subjects that I think I can write a few pages on, and mostly stuff that other people wouldn’t think of, or at least wouldn’t admit to.
But I left it on my desk at work. D’oh!
In lieu of the one of the other things I was going to talk about, I’ll talk about forgetting.
I forget alot of stuff. Usually only when it’s important for me to remember it. If it has no bearing on the events at hand, ask me and I’ll know it. I’m a wealth of useless information.
But back to the subject at hand… forgetting.
My main question here is “How far are you willing to forgive forgetfulness in others?”
Me personally, I usually forgive until the cows come home… and usually for farther after that too. But some situations, where more than just the forgotten fact may be on the line, how much should a person be willing to forgive?
I haven’t figured that one out yet, but I know it has to do with another theory that I have had for a long time: the difference between an ‘excuse’ and a ‘reason’.
If someone has a ‘reason’ for forgetting, like, “my father died”, or “there was an emergency and I got stuck at work and in the crisis it slipped my mind to call”, it’s much better and easier to forgive than an ‘excuse’ like “I lost track of the time” or “I just forgot”.
I guess it boils down to that I’d be willing to go that extra mile for a ‘reason’, where an ‘excuse’ may just be a waste of time. But in either case, honesty is better than anything.

10 October 1999

Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday dear me-ee. Happy birthday to me.
Yep, today is the big day. My birthday. I turn 25 today. One-quarter century.
I was going to try a nice happy .plan for my birthday, but one just didn’t come to mind. However…
During a conversation with a friend of mine, I happened upon an odd thought: In my 25 years I have never had a girlfriend on my birthday, and only once on New Year’s.
It’s true. Of the 7 or 8 girlfriends that I have had, not a single one has stuck around through a birthday. And the only time I had a girlfriend on New Year’s was many moons ago, when I was 18, and what a disastrous night that was.
But what does this really have to do with anything?
It means that since I was about 16 I have made the same wish every year when I blow out the candles on my cake. But more important than that, it has never come true.
Why continue making the same wish when it never comes true?
I’m a hopeless… no. I’m a hopeful romantic.
9 years running. Maybe this year I’ll have better luck.

8 October 1999

Moments of Personal Shame.
Everyone has them, even if you don’t know what they are.
It’s those moments where you are deeply embarrassed, and even though no one saw it and no one will know, you still somehow feel ashamed.
Let me give you a quick example. One day at work I was feeling uncomfortable, couldn’t figure out why. Just kept shifting in my chair, getting up and walking around, fidgeting. When I got home that evening, changing out of my work clothes I looked down and saw that I had put my boxer shorts on backwards. So I stood there looking down at the tag sticking up out of the front of my shorts, embarrassed.
That is a moment of personal shame.
Now to the meat, and another moment of personal shame.
Last night, a Thursday, I went out for the usual evening: to Rio Bravo for drinks and food before something else (if something else happens). And so I’m there, I have a couple of beers and a couple of shots. I’ll admit it, I got drunk. But an hour of not drinking and a glass or two of water and I felt fine.
So I’m in the car heading home, totally okay. Until the last drink I had, a shot – an Oatmeal Cookie to be exact, just must have hit some particularly sensitive spot of my gullet. I quickly pull off the highway and into an office park, but I don’t get the door open, and… yep, you guessed it, puked in the car. On the window and door.
Well, I open the door and most everything spills onto the ground, and a quick wipe down with a few tissues cleans up most of the mess. This is not the moment of personal shame.
I drive the rest of the way home, put my clothes in a plastic bag for washing tonight, get a shower, drink a couple glasses of water, take an aspirin and hit the sack.
This morning, I get up (late) and get ready for work. I head out to the car. Mine is the only car in the parking lot, everyone else is already gone to work. I open the car door, and look at the mess. But it really isn’t too bad. I head back in, get some paper towels, cup of water and the air freshener. A few minutes later and its all clean. Still smells a little, but that’ll go in a day or two. This is not the moment of personal shame.
I head to work. Stopping at the gas station for gas, I get a carwash, and about a dozen of those little green trees for the car. All signs of the incident appear to be gone, or going. I get to work and as I get out of the car I see, just under the edge of the seat, a small spot that I missed. This is it.
I cleaned everything up, and if I didn’t write this page, no one would have ever known about this. But seeing that small spot on the floor board, I felt it. Embarrassed. A Moment of Personal Shame.
So now I have given you two of my moments, and believe me, this is only the tip of the iceberg. But personal shame can be a good thing, you can learn alot. I always double check my underwear when I put it on, and I won’t be drinking Oatmeal Cookies anymore.
Have a good day. And don’t laugh at me too hard. 🙂

6 October 1999

Something is bothering me.
One of my coworkers said something a couple days ago and it’s been crawling around in the back of my head as I try to figure it out and I just can’t seem to get it.
He said, “I just always kind of always think of you as being married for some reason.”
I’ve heard that before, and sometimes with a little more explanation. Things like “It’s just how you talk” or “how you carry yourself” and other just vague things that people say when they just can’t understand why they feel like they feel themselves.
But what does it really mean? This is what I keep asking myself as it bounces around in my skull. But I just can’t reach my mind around it and pin it down. I can’t even denote myself what I think of as the differences between single and married people.
Does it mean I just seem happy? Fulfilled? Satisfied somehow on a deep yearning level that the conscious mind can’t comprehend? Do I smile too much? Does my walk not swagger like a player looking for nookie? Does my voice not carry the bass tones of smooth talk? Is there a missing twinkle in my eye? Or an extra twinkle?
It just doesn’t make sense to me… how does someone ‘look’ married?
And thoughts like these, they careen into other thoughts and things like “If I look married, perhaps that’s why some girls don’t talk to me” and “If I look married, perhaps it’s the only reason some girls do talk to me”. These are not nice thoughts.
More frustrating than not having an answer, is not fully understanding the question.

5 October 1999

So tonight was the season premiere of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the series premiere of Angel.
I am not disappointed. I still love Buffy, in my mind one of the best shows ever put on television. Nothing else can handle real issues that affect people (like loneliness, heartbreak, failure, fear, and everything else) in such an absurd setting and still get the point across. Plus its funny and fun to watch. And Angel looks like it will be the same, only a little more ‘adult’.
Seriously, even with the violence and ‘scariness’ of these shows, unlike trashy shows like Melrose Place and other such garbage, the good guys always win, people overcome their fears, they feel good about themselves, and they always have their friends. What isn’t to like? This is the kind of stuff that I hope is on when I have kids so they can watch it.
Well damn. Watching these shows just puts me in such a good mood… but not really in a writing mood, so I’ll write more later.

4 October 1999

First, let me say, no… she didn’t turn out to be some kind of psycho and kill me. I just missed a day.
Actually, she turned out to be quite nice… delightfully pleasant in fact. We saw a movie, Stir of Echoes, and I even put a short review of it up.
The movie is the real meat of this .plan. That and a conversation my new friend and I had.
Horror movies.
This year I’ve seen a bunch of them, The Haunting, The Sixth Sense, Stigmata, Stir of Echoes, and The Blair Witch Project. And I’m looking forward to End of Days, Lost Souls, The Bone Collector, and Sleepy Hollow.
Of the ones I’ve seen this year, only The Haunting left me unsatisfied. In my opinion it just didn’t have the weight that the others did. The story lacked, and it really never made you jump. Never really scared you.
The others, with the possible exception of Stigmata to a degree, all did make you jump and, more importantly, left you thinking. Now I’m not going to ruin any of those movies and tell their secrets, but I want to mention that almost without fail often the scariest parts of some of those movies were when they didn’t show you anything. No blood, no grizzly murder. I’ll admit there were a few things that were a little bloody or shocking, but the good ones knew how to build a story. How to keep you interested, on the edge of your seat while simultaneously making you squirm to the back your seat trying to hide. To make you want to slam your eyes shut, but you don’t because you don’t want to miss a single scene.
Someone obviously passed out the “How to write successful horror” handbook this year in Hollywood. And the year isn’t even over yet.
But we also talked about the movies of the past, Poltergeist and The Exorcist being the top two of course. Then the first Friday the 13th (which she had never seen any of, if you can believe that) and the second one too (the rest are funnier than they are scary). Then the first two Halloween movies, and even 4, 5, and 6 weren’t bad. And of course, the king of series bad guys, Freddy in the first Nightmare on Elm Street and the third. Each of those had a good story and in most of them the directors knew how to film a scene for suspense to tense you up before dropping the hammer.
The bad movies are too numerous to name… but we can start with Leprachaun, every movie of a series named above that wasn’t listed as a good one.
Even movies that I might consider ‘good’ movies, meaning that I enjoyed watching them, I wouldn’t really call good ‘horror’ movies. Maybe call them ‘splatter flicks’ or something, like the Hellraiser series, I like ’em, but they mostly shock, not scare.
Where am I going with this? I have no idea. Not a clue. But I like horror movies, so this year I’ve been a happy camper at the theater… it’s when I get home and try to go to sleep that I’m a little uneasy. But that’s what good horror movies do.