Smallhouse Log

Saturday

What a day! After getting up at the usual time (four), commuting, and babysitting, I was determined to wait around Hyde Park for a while to meet up for brunch with Nancy and a visiting Neha. I stumbled upon the Outdoor Adventure Club having an Earth Day campout on the quads, and they shared breakfast with me as I told them how back in my day, we slept out on the quads in tents made of tarps and park benches. Also, none of them knew who I was, so I had my first normal conversation about Scav Hunt in five years. Finally, I thanked them, exhorted them to come to the Mass tonight, and went over to the Backstory to fix the feeds. Neha did not make it to brunch, but Nancy and I went around afterwards to collect her, and the three of us just sort of wandered around for hours, enjoying the weather, occaisionally going barefoot, interrupting private events, planning potential road trips, and generally just loitering. By the end of this, I was extremely relaxed, perfectly contented, probably sunburnt, and had a blister on my toe that always gets weird blisters. We said our farewells and I biked home, tired and happy.

The day could have ended there; I gave thought to calling it a night, since I was already tired and blistered, and by the time I got home, it was already seventeen-thirty, the nominal start time of the Mass. But I knew it wouldn't start until six, so I changed into ligher pants, grabbed a waterbottle, a patch kit, and a pump, and rode off towards Daley Plaza. By the time I got there, I was surrounded by all sorts of other cyclists. We rounded the last corner to find Daley plaza absolutely packed with people and bicycles. This did not turn out to be the most impressive ride I've ever been on (don't misunderstand me, it was a definite second), but it was by far the largest. Over a thousand riders, though how many exactly, I have no idea. The route went generally west, then north through Humboldt Park, turned east at Logan Square, and went to the lakefront. The original map had called for either the Lakefront Path or LSD itself north of there, but either our escort of cops would not let us onto LSD, or there were enough South Siders present to veto going so far north. People sort of chilled on the beach for a while after that. I had ended up towards the rear after blocking off an intersection in Humboldt Park, so most people I knew were heading south seemed to have skedadled already by the time I was ready to go. I did make the aquantance of an undergrad named Sam, and when we were good and ready, we began our own little caravan south, with a stop south of North Beach for pictures, and detour to Trader Joe's, where we had a midnight picnic and loitered harder than I've done in years. When the wind began to pick up, Sam decided to call it a night and catch the bus, and continued on home, where I took a much needed shower and almost managed to stay awake long enough for my hair to dry.

So here I sit, still exhausted, still blissful, all the windows open and a pleasant breeze blowing through the living room. The entire palm of each hand is covered in bruises; I had meant to grab my riding gloves, but one always forgets something, yes? I had wrapped the toe-blister in medical tape, and it thankfully didn't get any worse, but after five hours in the saddle, I fear I may have blisters in more sensitive places. I spend the entire day, save those four hours in the morning and ten minutes at home, outside, on my feet or on Terrance's pedals, in the sunshine. What a day.

"If this isn't nice, what is?"

Friday

So I've been putting off dealing with the feeds for quite some time. Today, I finally felt like digging into it, and discovered that:

  1. Not only had I not updated the feeds to display more than one item at once, but they didn't correspond to the revised site structure.
  2. Not only the above, but they did not, due to a foolish copy/paste error, actually retrieve anything from the database.
  3. Even though they had not been pulling things from the database, they were nevertheless creating small but worrisome security holes.
  4. Aside from all the other things, the items did not even link properly to the corresponding pages. Less of an issue for you read-it-in-the-aggregator types, but I'm a click-through man, myself. Which is why I spent so much more time making a pretty website than making functional feeds. (This is still the case, the feeds, to my surprise, only took me an hour.)
  5. Once the comment feed was working again, I discovered some more spam comments. I deleted them.

So I fixed them, except that last one; spam is way down from what it was, so I'm content with the current system, as stricter authentication would be annoying. And then found some (very silly) bugs in the log markup as well. Ha! Ha! Also fixed. I even corrected a few typos from old posts. I feel so productive.

Now I just need to update the sitemap and replace that sidebar on the right with actual content. And finish importing poetry and way old posts. And finish editing "Seconds". And a whole slew of actual, real-world things. But for now, I feel accomplished.

Thursday

So if you are like me, and didn't go to the Kid Koala show on Friday night only because you didn't sit down and read the paper until Saturday, when it was the perfect weather to sit out on your deck and, well, read the newspaper, you might be as glad as I am to hear that J+J+J are having a show up in East Village on Monday night. If you are me, then you live in Bridgeport, and are excited further by the fact that they are doing a DJ set at the bar/liquor store one block away from your (my) apartment, and that there is no cover for this. Other exciting things for me, and any errant copies of me that might be reading this: I have a job interview! In theory. That is, it's been postponed until next week. It was going to be tonight, right before the National Address (also exciting -at Mercury Cafe, seven at night, if you're / I'm reading before then and want to czech it out), but it's been moved to Monday... right before the J+J+J show. Sweet, sweet proximity. Critical Mass tomorrow! I may be less enthusiastic when I'm tired and saddlesore after a week of commuting plus the jaunt north tonight for the Address. Then, on Sunday, church! There's no way I'll sleep through it, because I now get up at four every morning! Then, on Monday... well, I skipped ahead on the concerts, because I was that excited. And so are you.

And now I'm going to go try to buy spray paint in Chicago. It can't be that hard.

Sunday

So I was roadtripping with some other old Scav Hunt judges, and we were going through Las Vegas when our car broke down. While it was in the shop, we sort of wandedered around until we came to a convention centre, where we crashed a folkways convention. But these were not established, traditional folkways, they were new ones, still in need of promotion, so there was a lot of energy and music and even more free food, most of it pretty decent. It was winding down as we were there, though, and in the end most of us ended up playing poker off in a corner. Looking out the window, there was a gigantic, lit-up restaurant (/ casino?) called "PIE to the RIBS", where, it was agreed by all present, one should be able to get pie made of ribs; sadly, this did not seem to be the case. Apparently, not even pies made of ribbed-like things (eg. pulled pork) were available. And then I woke up and was terrified I was late for something.

But no. I had, in fact, slept through the alarm to go to the Marauders run tonight, which had sounded so promising - though I'm sure the information is available somewhere online, it's not my place to spread it; I am content to say that both the origin and the terminus are two of my very favorite places in Chicago. But I had woken up at three am already, been chagrined, turned off the alarm, mourned the missed opportunity, and gone back to sleep. And since my sleep schedule is being phased to end at three in the morning, I wake up a few hours later, thinking about meat pies and good times with Scavjudges.

Holy Saturday

Even in my dreams I get heartache; you know, a typical star-crossed lovers story. Boy gets hired by secret angency to infiltrate enemy kingdom, boy meets girls, boy learns girl is princess, boy pretends to fall for girl, girl falls for boy, boy actually falls for girl, boy reveals secret plot, girl realizes it can never be, boy and girl take soulful walk on beach near castle, boy goes home empty-handed and heartbroken. That may sound pat, but inside, I'm still saying "Oooooaaaaghh" over and over.

Analysis: Shows heavy influence by an old television show I've been rewatching recently. This show is similar to Clone High in that it's a cartoon about teenagers; it's hilariously ridiculous and ridiculously hilarious; the main character in followed around by a girl who is crazy about him, but whom he generally ignores as he chases another woman and there's a third, much shorter character who acts as confidante for both of them but is primarily comic relief; and involves a lot of historical figures in a modern setting. But in this show, the adoring girl is a beautiful princess. So there's that. Other obvious influences: Layout of castle, infiltration of same harken to long, long string of recurrent dreams, most of which focus on either getting into a labrynthine stonework building secretly, or escaping cavernous mansions without being caught. The original root of these dreams is not known.

This dream was so touching, so coherent, so full of honest clear-cut emotion, it demanded to be written down. Perhaps I could even work it into a story, but I doubt it. Too personal, and writing it out as a narrative, it must be obvious how much I, the author, am in love, and how heartbroken I am. That seems undesirable for other readers, and I lack the kind of vanity that makes me eager to do things for my own sake.

I fear there is a serious danger of sappy poetry in my future.

Good Friday

'Triduum' may well be my favorite word. I wish I could play it in Scrabble sometime. Is it only a proper noun? But I confess, I have not had a particularly holy Lent. I slipped in my devotions a lot, and I am sitting here right now, on the anniversary of Christ's death, wrapped up in my own little problems.

I've been thinking unusually hard lately. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say I've been thinking about unusually hard things. In the past three weeks, I drafted (with some help) Plan Epsilon-sub-epsilon and executed it. Like every other instance of Plan E (summary of Plan E: graduate college), it seems to have failed, but for the first time in Plan E history, it failed due to circumstances and not due to improper execution on my part. Also, it didn't cost me anything but stress, time, and energy, all of which I have in abundance. Further, I discovered that I am ready to go back to school, by which I mean I enjoyed and was interested in the material, something that had not been the case the past few stabs at E. I am so pleased (if not satisfied) with this result, I think I will redeploy E-e at the time of earliest convenience, but with somewhat more set-up time.

Encouraged by the recent sharp decrease in failure for my Plans, I sat down a few minutes ago and tried to draw up a Plan for romance, but I ultimately set it aside as futile. The first part was too obvious and disorganized to be worthy of the name (eg. "stop being too poor to date", "buy a pair of jeans withouth holes in them"), and the second... Well, if the first part was a list of complaints about myself, the second part was a list of complaints about the rest of the world. The second part was longer, and made less sense. It was based, I suppose, on my guesses as to what young women are interested in, and partly on what girls I don't try to date telling me things about girls I do. They usually don't know each other. Result: confusion.

There is a part of me that thinks itself reasonable and always, always suggests that the best way to attract a girl who will be interested in me is to act like myself. No offense, me, but that is a crock. It certainly has not been working to any detectable degree. There is another part of me that insists overwhelming apathy is the correct path, but that has been a bit harder to pull off of late. This is because I'm impatient. A year and a half is bad enough; maintaining full-scale apathy as an ongoing strategy is... resource-heavy.

There is no third part of me offering advice. I sought outside help, and received, variously "go to church more, there are good, religious girls there" (this is true); "you're totally not to old to be dating college girls" (not really helpful); "have you tried online dating?" (am I the only one who still finds that creepy?); and a short refresher tutorial on how to manipulate people (which, apparently, other people find creepy?).

There is a clear, more-or-less permanent obstacle: I don't understand women. Or most people in general, really. I understand a few, such as Brian. But this is not a function of time, really; I never understood Jeremy, and I definitely did not understand Leah. Obviously, that's no barrier to loving people, but it does make them harder to manipulate, my default form of interaction. There is also a less-permanent obstacle: My Chicago social circles are tapped out. Everyone I know knows each other, is fiercely loyal to each other, secretly hates each other, used to date each other, openly hates each other, and so on. There is a graph of it floating around in my head. It ensures that my relationship to anyone who could be introduced to me by anyone I know will already be complicated at the time of the introduction. That is too much work. That right there, and my lust for a good, honest mosh pit, are the reasons I am so eager to move out of Chicago. But I'm not willing to give up on getting my Chicago degree yet, so.

The first twenty years of my life taught me to accept the consequences of my actions, but they did not often force those consequences upon me. I was miraculously spared, time and time again. Except for the broken leg when I was three and the heartbreak in highschool, nothing bad really happened to me until mid-college. Now I have to deal with terrible realities (I admit once more, often of my own making) several times a week, and I find myself thinking, is this what other people have been living with their whole lives? Seriously, how do you people DO this?

Second Sunday in Lent

I have identified my weakest emotion. Or rather, I have identified that I have a weakest emotion. An emotional weakness? The best phrasing eludes me.

As does the specifics of my weakness. Hope? Love? Attraction? Perhaps hope, indeed, for I allow myself to be suckered in many situations. What is my job search but a constant series of convictions that this next application will pan out? Yet this I can analysis in progress, know even as I assure myself that my assurances are false and groundless. So Hope is a weakness, but not a critical one.

Another weakness, often pointed out and just as often forgotten: Projection, the conviction that as I am, so are others. This may be true in specifics or false; the point is to reject the conviction, to come to know others for themselves, or, if my mind cannot handle such a thing, to regard them as sand in the wind, beyond my understanding or control.

Tangentially, can I love sand blowing in the wind? Or can I love only myself? No, I can love others, even if I only realize it in the moments when I understand them.

Perhaps I am incapable of discovering the exact nature of this weakness myself. Not that I could be satisfied with that.

Perhaps assumptions that things sharing an environment are interrelated. Analyzed, the fallacy is exposed. Yet how often do I make these assumptions? Whenever they are convenient, of course. This does not satisfy, either. But I am so tired of processing inputs, so very tired.

Clarity is a blessing.