23 November 1999

… sometimes its just hard to keep the smile on your face.
I’ve missed a number of days for updates, and there is a long long story behind it. The short of it is: my younger brother was in the hospital, he underwent heart surgery, twice, and now he still will have to go to a clinic far away for a third, failing that he goes for open heart surgery, and failing that he gets a pacemaker.
He’s 21 years old, he has a good life, he does not need a pacemaker. It’s these kinds of things that make me realize why I don’t believe in God.
I mean, I’m a slacker. I don’t go after what I want, I don’t pursue my dreams. I don’t live up to my full potential, I rarely even try. I was the one born with heart trouble and not breathing. But he’s the one who has a bad ticker.
Fuck all trying to understand any of it. He’s got confidence, gets good grades, has a wonderful girlfriend, smart, funny… pretty much everything I’d love to have in myself, but I’m a schmuck.
You know what?
I give up. I am no longer going to try to understand the universe. It takes too much time, and you never learn the important stuff until after the moment has past you by.

14 November 1999

Yesterday I spent most of the day going through papers that I have saved for various reasons. Bills, receipts, awards, warranties… everything. It’s odd looking through an accounting of your life on paper. Things go through your head like: “What was I thinking when I bought that? Do I even still have it?” “Wow, it never occurred to me how much that date really cost..” “I made HOW MUCH last year?? Where is it all??” “Now there is someone I’d like to talk to again…” It’s just odd.
And then to sort all of it into 2 piles: ‘Need to Keep’ and ‘Goes in the Trash’. When you are a packrat like me, it takes all day. Even longer when you watch DVDs while doing it.
Then, after deciding what to keep, I had to sort it all out… put my life in order, if you will…
But its all done now, put it behind me, close that door, move on. Until the next time the papers pile up.
It brings forth a thought though… when you die, you become only the fading memories of others and the things you leave behind. Neither one is really you. The things you leave behind are only keepsakes of what you have done (and there are tons of things I have done and don’t have keepsakes for), stuff you bought, and the paperwork of your life. The fading memories of others… inacurrate at best.
No one could ever really know me from what others remember and from my stuff… and I guess thats what life is: everything else.
Sometimes I ramble nonsense, don’t I?
One of the movies I watched yesterday was ‘Tombstone’ and there is a line in there I like.. okay, there are a bunch of lines I like, but one that pertains a little to what I’ve been rambling about here. Doc Holliday is dying and he ask Wyatt Earp what he’s always wanted. Wyatt says “A normal life.” Its what most people say to that question, alot of us anyway. But Doc’s response to that is “There is no normal life, just life.” And that’s really true.
If there was a normal life, who would decide what ‘normal’ is? Who would you compare to? Who would you strive to be? But there is just life.. compare to no one, strive to be you… and don’t worry about the papers you leave behind… in the end, no one will really care that you purchased the Sobakawa Pillow.

13 November 1999

Someone, anyone… if you read this page, email me (jasongpace@squadleader.com) and help me out.
How can you tell if a girl is interested?
I have a blind spot when it comes to women, most nice guys do. If you are not attracted to a girl, then you know right away when she is flirting with you, but if you do like her, she could be hitting you in the head with a baseball bat screaming “I LOVE YOU!!” and you still would notice.
I never notice, so tell me… how can I tell?
Please… I’m begging you… help me.
Okay… enough of the pitiful whining, on with the rest of the .plan.
I wrote a list of topics on my mind a while back (October 15th .plan) and decided to actually do another one of the list… Swearing: the power of words.
I actually wrote a paper for an essay class in college on this subject. It all stems from the fact that people swear… alot. Me too, I’m not exempt from this. Sometimes I swear like a sailor, but occationally I try to make a concious effort to stop, or at least slow down.
You see, the power of a swear comes from its infrequency of use. If you say ‘fuck’ and ‘shit’ and all the rest all the time, people will come to expect it.. and they won’t people able to know when you really are mad.
Think about it. When some friend who swears all the time starts swearing, you’ll just think “This is normal.” But if someone you have never heard utter a swear word yells out “FUCK!!” you’ll be stunned because… well, you’ve never heard them swear.
My first experience with this came many years ago back in the days of dial-up Bulletin Board Systems. People generally didn’t swear (except on the hacker BBSs) so no one was used to it. As usual people got into an argument… people being me and someone else. And when he didn’t have a leg to stand on, he went for the usual personal digs. Making fun of me but still not swearing.
Hold on… pause. I need to cover something else real quick about how I feel. Insults. When it comes to insults they usually don’t bother me much. You can sit and insult me all day long and I’ll either match you insult for insult, or I’ll ignore you. In my opinion, this can often be just standing up to someone. They are right there in front of you and they can defend themselves. But as a matter of honor, you never ever insult a man’s family when they aren’t present to defend themselves. If its all joking, like ‘Your momma’ jokes, that’s fine, but you never make a serious insult about a man’s family. You never go beyond your target and strike his home.
That said… the first swear word used in the argument came from the other guy. He called my mother an ‘overflowing cum sack’. As a result, at the next face-to-face party, three of my friends and myself were waiting for him to show up so we could kick the crap out of him. A bit of an overreaction to be sure… but he insulted my mother AND used a swear word.
Later, I would run into the same wall myself, when on another BBS during an argument, to emphasize a point of an already heated debate, I used the word ‘fuck’. Because no one was used to hearing that strong a word, everyone joined into the argument. I got alot of flames for using the word, and some people threatened to beat me up. But in the end it actually served its purpose: what had been 3 guys talking about a subject was now about 50.
Some people feel that swear word should have their taboo removed, after all, they are just words. You hear kids and even grown ups filling the air around them with these forbidden words. But I think they need to be more taboo, if you get overheard saying one, everyone should stare at you in shock. This way, swear words can once again have the shock value they once did, and be useful.

11 November 1999

The joys of having your own place…
There are a few good things about having your own place that I thought I’d spout off about.
First… The TV. You always get to decide what to watch because you always get the remote. And if you get too tired to go to bed while watching the tube, just sleep right where you are.
Second… Storage and Product Placement. Put everything where you want it. No “My Space” and “Your Space” because it’s all “My Space”. All the closets, all the shelves, all of it. Any poster or piece of art you want up… it goes up. Wanna put the TV on that wall and the couch on the one over there… done. One cabinet for glasses, one for plates… One shelf for chips, one shelf for canned goods… done, and done.
And finally… Clothing. Put dirty clothes wherever you want. I happen to WANT to put mine in the hamper in my bedroom closet, but if I felt the need, I could leave them on the living room floor it I desired. Most importantly about clothes with a place of your own though… they are optional. No roommates to look out for, no family to be wary of… your own personal nudist colony.
Now I just need a few female members to visit now and again and I’m set.

9 November 1999

Damn… missed a day…
But I did watch “A Fistful of Dollars”. That is a damn good movie. I’ll need to watch “For A Few Dollars More” and “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” later this week or next week.
For a moment, let me share with you the pain of many of my work days… Microsoft.
Now, I’m not one of those people who slam MS every chance they get… I happen to like many of their products. My true pain is http://www.microsoft.com. This is probably one of the worst designed web sites that I have seen a corporation put up in a long time.
Their site used to be good, you could just browse around and find what you wanted. Most importantly you could pull up the list of all available downloads and drill down to what you needed.
Now everything on that dag blamed site is using Active Server Page rendered search engines. If you can’t find the archaic encrypted keyword combination to pull up what you need you end up with one of two results.
1) No results returned.
2) 900 billion products served.
You either get nothing, or every article about every product they ever put out. And even if you pull up a page that tells you how to install the files you are looking for, odds are that there is no link to actually GET THE FILES!!!
Time and again I have to go looking for files or information at their site only to spend 4 or 5 HOURS!!! looking for what should take a handful of minutes at best.
You want an example of the bizarre layout of Microsoft’s webpage? Go there and look up the MS SNA Server 4.0 Service Pack 3 (search for keyword ‘sna4sp3’). Then find the list of Fixes included in the Service Pack. They refuse to give you a single document that explains the fixes, they insist of breaking it out into a separate page per fix. And even then, they usually only give you a two line description of the problem (not enough to tell if it is the problem you are having) and then the fix… the fix, of course, always being: “Install the latest service pack.” Did they really need to waste this much space and time when for all I (or really anyone in the technical field) care to see is a text file listing as much info as possible. I don’t need the beautiful graphics and “user friendly” ASP designs… I’m already an MS product owner, lay off the hard sell!!!!
Now I’m going to take my pills, relax, and blow people up in a friendly game of TeamFortress.

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.