Living 'softly.
a look into Zach Robinson
"Love and cooking should be approached with abandon.", the Dalai Lama

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Friday Janus and I discussed what we wanted in our partners. It was a good exchange. My thoughts about what I want in my partner...
* A positive outlook. Someone with idealism and romanticism deeply embedded into their personality.
* skepticism: someone who doesn't take things at face value
* sense of humor: both someone funny and someone who laughs easily. I particularly like sarcasm and intelligent humor - and wordplay
* someone who's actively interested in learning and growing
* someone who likes the outdoors. not necessarily athletic, but likes walking together, maybe hiking.
* creativity... anybody who acts, sings, does art, etc. gets big bonus points. (Even though singing isn't really *creative* it is beautiful and I'm a sucker for beauty too.)
* passion. someone who's a good partner, both romantically and sexually. I want to give and receive flowers, read and be read to poetry, cook and be cooked for, and seduce and be seduced.

And something very simple that I don't see enough of in the women I date: acknowledgment on *their* part that they're beautiful. It takes courage to come across as a tigress, but when done well that really flames the embers of attraction. From skirts to scarves it's very easy to look nice... so why not try to blow my mind once in a while?

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

Romantic change is still pouring. Three of my friends have gotten back together with their ex's in the past several weeks, one more is still contemplating, and two have virtually ended things. It's been quite tumultuous. I feel like I've been learning and growing a lot through all of this. Even when I'm not directly involved, others' experiences help provide me perspective.

You know, the first time I heard about you, I thought you were a hoax. 'Flying Man Stuns City,' the paper said. 'Yeah, right.' I said. But then I saw you land that downed shuttle on your back. And in that moment, every jaded bone in my body believed that a man could fly...
(touches his face)
The first time I met you -- as Clark -- I thought you were the squarest hick to ever escape Kansas. But when you called me 'Miss Lane'... you were so polite and even gallant, that you made me feel like a princess.
(her head on his chest)
The first time you told me about... well, about your other job, there was a moment of shock. And then it all made sense. Who else but Clark Kent could care so much about people he didn't even know...
And the first time we kissed...
(gets teary)
... I knew it was you. You were the person I'd stopped believing in years before -- the one my mother told me about.

-Kevin Smith, Superman Lives screenplay

I'm just never going to get any sleep at all. I couldn't sleep last Friday through Monday because of some emotional conversations I was having with one woman, and last night and tonight haven't helped at all. Hopefully I'll be able to sleep sometime next month... yeesh.

Last night I stayed over at Megan's place after a late party just down her block. I really really like this woman, but it took me hours to get to sleep. Part of it was that I was with somebody new and interesting and wonderful. Why would anyone want to go to sleep when they could caress or just look at the person they're with? It's always been excruciatingly difficult for me to go to sleep the first several times with anybody I find highly attractive. I really like cuddling up to my sleeping buddy, but even as innocent as that can be I find I need to turn away from them just so I'll have a chance of sleeping. And when I'm facing away, I feel like a dork for wasting both of our times... I feel like I shouldn't be there if I'm not interested in holding her.

That was another part of why I couldn't sleep last night. I wasn't sure why I was there, from her perspective. I don't have a problem just holding or cuddling someone, but I want to be sure we're doing whatever we're doing for about the same reasons. I haven't been able to get a good read on where Megan is at to date, and it's been disturbing.

We talked about it tonight, and it was very helpful to me. I think she got the mistaken impression that I'm madly in love with her. She *is* cool as all get-out, and on paper we fit like hand in glove, but that doesn't mean that in practical experience things will work out. It's very easy to want someone, to like the newish thrill of them, but relationships - and love - are harder.

The biggest part of a relationship to me is trust. Honesty comes next, but trust is first and foremost the glue that binds together the relationship for me. If I don't feel that I'm trusted, it's very hard for to give myself to the relationship. Honesty sometimes is hard and painful, but I'd so much rather know the truth than continue under false pretenses. Maybe I'm not always as transparent as I could be, but I work on it. If my partner doesn't know my fears, needs, and desires, how will they be able to feel completely comfortable sharing their own with me?

I think it's easy to get confused when someone cool and interesting pops into your life. It's very easy to let yourself get swept away. That's horrible, though: you need to know what *you* want.

Then fly to her side and make her your own
Or all through your life you may dream all alone

-Oscar Hammerstein II, Some Enchanted Evening

I'm sorry I didn't stay over last night.

I'm an adult, Clark. I'm not throwing a hissy just because you missed my sleepover.

I'm having a hard time understanding what I said that was so wrong.

You didn't say anything wrong, Clark. You said everything a woman spends her whole life waiting for a man to say to her.

-Kevin Smith, Superman Lives screenplay

In today's experiments, I found that:
* Phone cords make excellent toys. The ends are quite nice to chew upon, though they break easily. Also, since they stretch very well, they make excellent things to whirl above your head (like whirling a jump rope, but with lots more stretch). However, because they're very fragile, it's best to borrow your coworkers' phone cords. It's also probably best not to ask, since you won't be able to vouch for their safety.
* Mountain Dew cans were not meant to sustain a three story drop off the side of the stairwell, but do provide a most entertaining SPLOOSH! when they hit bottom. It is important to note that you need to be sure that no one is nearby on the bottom of the stairwell: I almost hit some poor schmoe that I didn't see entering the building.
If I'm going to be fired, it's going to be for damned good reason. <grin>

Reviews are upon us here at Microsoft. I was working on a problem in a group program manager's office and saw her stack rankings of her various employees. As a manager myself I've seen the stack rankings before, but still it was a little weird to see the concrete employee evaluation scores of my friends and peers. (Since we get rated on an enforced bell curve at Microsoft, people usually call the ratings 'stack rankings'.) I've never once gotten my review score right - I tend to undervalue myself - so I was a little more ambitious this time. It will be weird to see how that turns out. This past year has been a huge labor of love for me. I've been under large pressure, worked extreme hours... but at the same time I work on the installer, so when things go wrong, everyone knows and hates me.
A couple months back, I decided to stop trying to be the little Dutch boy. I was doing my job, but I was also focusing on stuff like the newsgroups/PSS reports, documentation, etc.: trying to be a real value add to the product. It's very easy for developers to ignore silly stuff like documentation because obviously *we* know what we're doing, but I kept spending time trying to straighten out other's inanities. Unfortunately, the guy I work for is a control freak, and so I've felt disempowered over time on my project (AutoUpdate). It's still all mine, but I find it really disturbing when I'm not on the loop on issues affecting me, and that's happened too much with him for me to feel comfortable that I'm going to be part of all the important decisions about my project. So I stopped working so hard, but the team knows It's Zach and therefore I get weird funky issues to track and fix anyways...
So although I think overall I did a damned kick-ass job, I'm a little curious to see how things turn out. According to me I gave 95%. According to Kirt... ? We'll see.
I didn't tease anybody on my review. A couple people on the team thought there was only a snowball's chance in hell that I could get everything ready by the time I needed to... there are *always* ten thousand things on my plate, my report wasn't being helpful... etc. But I met my milestones without fail, and I'm proud of that, at least. I wish I had more time to fix things up, but a: I don't, and b: I couldn't have known that I would have even wanted to make some of these changes back when there was time. It all Works, I just know I could have made it work better had I had a little more time or a little more reliable help.
So. We'll see.

I've gotten some cool hardware recently... working in multimedia is good for getting toys. Last week was Handheld PC week. The technology is interesting, but I don't like HPCs: Palm has the right idea. I want something like the Apple Newton, not a mini-portable. And heck, frankly I don't even want the Newton... I just want a small Rio-sized device that holds ~6gb of WMA/MP3 files that I can use with my car stereo, while skiing, etc.

I'm getting a CD burner tomorrow. I burnt my first CD a couple weeks back and then realized that with as eclectical musical tastes as I have, a CD burner is a great way to bide the time until cheap portable players with massive storage become generally available.

The true reason for a program like Napster or Gnutella, in my opinion, is for enabling an artist's fans to get copies of everything they've every written, and pay them for it. This is NOT hard to do. In fact, it's so insanely stupidly easy...
The All Music Guide, CDDB, and every other CD data look-up utility work based off of a CD's TOC. So no matter what machine you're running, if the CD or file's metadata has a TOC indicating "7+96+672C+C1B6+11901+125B6+182DD+1E53E+21BB0", that's guaranteed (as much as you can guarantee anything in a world of hackers) to be Art of Noise's Reduction. Given that, my box should be able to acquire a license for the track - just like And if I can acquire a license for a track I already have, it's not rocket science to sell me that track, other tracks by that author that I might want, and so on. I'm getting torqued by the mass stupidity out there. Somebody with half a brain is going to digitize thousands of CDs and sell them via DRM and then I'm going to be poor but happy. I'd love to pay Chaz Jankel for a copy of Chazablanca... it's so pathetic that the only way I could find to get a hold of some of the Chaz Jankel tracks from his brief time in the States was by directly contacting his old agent, who was willing to send me his personal copy. Yeech. The technology is here (or very close to being ready), let's use it.
I got extra cranky about this when I ran across things like this: I can pirate these tracks (from the "Dream On" promo), but I can't actually buy the tracks anywhere in CD/digital form. EIL is the closest I've come to getting a licensed copy - but they only have vinyl, and that's stupid. It's just data. If you want to put weird licenses on your products, do that, but if you just want money for your music, digitize it and tell me how to pay you.
'kay. Off my soapbox. Just wanted to record how I felt at this particular moment in musical history.

The news stories on the Impending Death of the Internet, sorry, I mean, the impending California-generated brown-out are interesting and worthy of thought.
In today's Moron news, I ran across this quote in regards to the Supreme Court striking down partial-birth abortion laws:

But Bob Blank, president of Metro Right to Life, an abortion opponent group in Omaha, Neb., called the ruling a disappointment. "The Supreme Court of the United States chose not to listen to the people of the United States," he said.

-MSNBC, Supreme Court coverage

Side-stepping entirely the issue of whether anyone can truly purport to speak for on behalf of 'the people' in such a politically disinvolved country, the Supreme Court isn't supposed to be listening to the people. There are various concepts of freedom which the Supreme Court must value over the desires of the masses. The Supreme Court listens to the Constitution, not the people. It's the Legislative branch's job to listen to the people.... But I do hope that people reading the story realize what a slim majority of sanity is found on the present Supreme Court. Unfortunately, this presidential election like many others comes down to the notion that the election of the Republican nominee is the worst possible choice for this country (from a standpoint of individual liberty). I don't necessarily think I'm going to vote Democrat, but I couldn't ever in good faith support any social conservative, regardless of how much largesse they were willing to spread around afterwards. Ralph Nader sounds a little more appetizing than Gore (Gore being too close to the system), but everything I've ever seen about Nader says that he's fairly clueless about technology. Probably true about most politicians, but Nader has been all too happy about taking positions on Microsoft without adequately justifying why he believes what he is saying. I think that's what I'll miss most about Clinton: he knew his facts, or at least how to spin them.

As always, the following are absolutely just my own opinions: I've worked at M*crosoft and been fortunate (?) enough to be part of the DOJ trial. I got to meet and talk with people behind the scenes, got to understand some of the dynamics at play, and see some of the big bruising/bruised egos involved. This is a very competitive company, and maybe we have been too Evil at times. It's certainly possible. But if remedies are going to be constructed, I think they need to be constructed in a fashion that's beneficial to industry standards as a whole, not just a Smiting of Microsoft. I think Judge Jackson had the opportunity to set some rules of the road for future corporate behavior and missed the chance in his hurry to punish MS. That to me is terribly unfortunate because so many base issues from the case were just glossed over... MSNBC had this blurb:

Mr. Neukom also suggested that the judge’s comments in the ruling Wednesday, which also questioned whether Microsoft had been truthful in an earlier case in 1995, “suggests that the district court may have reached this conclusion even before the current lawsuit was filed based on events in a separate case, outside the record of this litigation entirely.”

and I can see that. So much of people's distrust and disbelief for MS, in my experience, comes from general antipathy instead of factual assessment. I'd really love to join the MS haters - I'm a semi-neo-Luddite at heart in the first place - but I need to some cogent arguments explaining why Microsoft is evil, and until I do so... I'm not convinced.

The problem is that there's so very many allegations thrown out there, you tend to lose track of the real evils. Disabling Win 3.1 from running on top of DR-DOS, that might have been evil. But at least 1/2 of the Apple allegations in the DOJ trial were pure baloney. If Apple's top engineers are proposing to them the exact same proposal we're coming to them with... how are we being evil? And that knowledge, the fact that unproven allegations were a major part of the trial - that is what disappoints me. Like Mulder, I want to believe. I grew up on the Mac, and I hated MS... then I worked here and realized that this place really isn't evil, it just isn't really very compassionate. Big difference.

One final quote and then I'll let this go:

The final judgment proposed by plaintiffs is perhaps more radical than might have resulted had mediation been successful and terminated in a consent decree. It is less so than that advocated by four disinterested amici curiae.

-Judge Jackson,

'disinterested' amici curiae? Let's see. The CCIA's brief (with the great quote:

Moreover, despite Microsoft’s recurrent contentions, its monopolistic abuses harmed consumers. See Findings ¶¶ 57, 60, 62-66, 171-174, 210-216, 225-229, 247, 339-340, 379, 397, 408-412.Consumers have lost the price and functionality benefits that competition produced in the browser market before Microsoft achieved dominance, and could produce in operating systems (and other middleware) as well. Consumers feel this injury every time another hour is lost from a crash caused by an operating system that is under no competitive pressure to improve stability.

which blithely assumes that if a crash occurs, it is because of Windows, not because some neophyte programmer deref'd a NULL pointer...), this brief (this is the three little Windows pigs break-up proposal - forcing Windows into a UN*X-esque state), and ... ? I can't find anything else. This isn't what I like to see out of our judicial system.

The guy working for me is gone now. That means my workload doubles again. But I'm very happy he's gone. I keep dealing with code he worked on, and I am glad he is not writing more code. It's just stupid stuff, really, but it's frustrating to keep getting jarred every time you look at someone's code. Time and time again I try to figure out why he does something in that particular unusual fashion, and sadly it keeps coming down to either a lack of understanding or a lack of ... ... pride? I think that might be it. I don't write the world's best code, but it's clean and efficient. Anyways, in a month or so I'll be done replacing his code with my own. Yay.

Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.

-Arthur Schopenhauer, Parerga and Paralipomena

Far too much has been going on mentally, emotionally, and job-wise to be able to sit down and write. So I'm just going to start where I start and I'll backtrack where I feel necessary.

Note to Matt: Bad situation, I'm sorry. It was handled the right way for both of us, though: neither of us were ready for something new, near as I can tell.

I've found myself a little distracted lately by thoughts of someone. I've found that the people I've gotten along well best with physically are sometimes the people I'm least apparently compatible with. That's odd to me, but I've seen it in others too. A flame for someone you know you shouldn't have...

Along those lines... Rachel left for graduate school this past weekend. About a month ago I contacted her about something small, and we'd ended up talking again. We didn't forget about the high level of friction from the last time we got together, but we did try to talk to each other.

I am so glad we did.

I had forgotten what it was like to laugh so free and unfettered with someone. We both are inherently trusting people. That's wired deeply into me. I can date and be friends with those who are more hesitant in their trust and affection, but - and maybe it's not trust I'm talking about - feeling free and unfettered with someone is something I really cherish. I want to be able to trust the person I'm with to view things in good faith, to forgive my rough edges, and to have them expect that I'll do the same to them.

I felt so close to her so quickly again. Part of that is that we had once dated for over a year. That's not all of it, or nearly most of it, though. I remember feeling like this when we first met. We're simply people of like minds. That's something I thought a lot about during the time I had to spend with her. We're very similar people, generally want the same things, generally want to know about or if possible improve the same things in ourselves...

She was very dynamic around me, and I really appreciated that. It had been a long time since I had laughed that much around someone, felt that at ease. No slight on anyone else, but there's certain people that make you laugh, and she makes me laugh.

We certainly didn't end our last relationship on good terms, but I think I understand better now. More importantly, I know that though things didn't work out between us, she remains a damn fine woman.

Last year's blow-up with Rachel and Janus really did my love life a lot of Bad. Both of them possess that rare ability to make me laugh / make me deeply happy that others have had to struggle to achieve.

Ah well. I made my own bed. I just hope I can stop meeting two interesting girls at the same time and only really appreciating them after it's too late...

Err. Umm. I haven't been writing down what's been going on. I could look back to see where I left off, but I'll just start from where I want to...

So last I was writing and thinking, I'd met the very cool Megan, but Anne had changed her mind about breaking up and wanted me back. Anne was off in Europe, so that wasn't too much of a reality. Anne started making noise about coming home early to win me back... I didn't know what to make of this. I certainly had wanted things with her and if she really wanted them to work... it might have been possible. It's hard to say. It felt like most of the problems were related to her not wanting this (enough?). So I didn't know what to do. Quite a pickle.

During this time, Megan went on a trip to the East Coast, leaving our relationship in a embryoish state. In turn, Anne was making plans to come back early to try to make things work, and being very clear about how much she cared. Anne managed to get a plane ticket back so she'd be coming back the same weekend that Megan was coming back in. ...

I talked several times with both of them during the week that Megan was out of town, and was pretty (too?) honest with both about them about what was going on in my head. I really needed to talk to and be with Megan again, so I was glad that she was coming in a day earlier than Anne.

Except she didn't. As luck would have it, Anne ended up coming in an hour and a half earlier than Megan. Since I was very very stressed out, I drove to the airport about six hours early. I sat and thought, walked around and looked at the various art exhibitions, and spent some time in the airport chapel thinking more.

I ended up picking up Anne from the airport in large part because she was there first. Thankfully I didn't run into Megan on my way out: that would have been frightening...
I really wanted to talk to Anne, but I really wanted to see Megan.

Anne and I ended up talking a long time that night. It seemed like we were both on the same page, but is that what I wanted? I didn't know.

Anyways, I was exhausted from all of this drama so I spent most of the next day in bed, decompressing.

More on this shortly. It's 6am now and I need to get to bed.

Note to D2: Nice posterior. Not my type, but still quite nice eye-candy.

I'd been gathering myself for several months now to tell C to go away. I finally did so yesterday. She was a cool and interesting person when I first met her way back when. We made each other laugh, we respected each other, we were friends. But over time I watched her make horrid decision after bad decision, watched her affect the lives of those around her for the worse...

Not that she's a bad person. I just think her checkered past has left her very hurt, and instead of acknowledging that and moving past it, she's let what happened back then decide her future. I could never have made the decisions she has, and to repeatedly make the same mistakes? I've taken responsibility for my actions. I've made my mistakes, at times I've hurt others and I've embarassed myself. But I try to do right by who I am, to ultimately be true to *myself*, not to my scars, not to my limitations. Grow and step beyond and don't expect other people to come picking up the pieces. Especially when what she keeps doing keeps getting people hurt.

So we talked Sunday. I think she knew what I had in mind, but I still sat there and listened to her ramble for a while. When she'd had her say, I gathered up myself and threw seven years of friendship out the window, told her that I thought we should go our seperate ways and shut the door between the two of us.

That kind of thing doesn't go over well.

I let her know that I respected her and wished her well, I just didn't want to be part of her life anymore. If she needed something from me, I'd try to help. Friendship wasn't anything I was able to offer her, though. I don't have time for the people I do care about - something I'm currently fixing (I dropped off one of my soccer teams last week) - and being involved with her was something that I didn't need in my life.

It's probably callous of me, but I don't need anyone in my life who isn't a friend, who isn't someone I care about. I don't want to be someone's rainy day listener, not just be there when things break. I understand and respect people who are busy and who talk to when there's time... but I'm not a dumping ground. I don't care who you are, you need to learn to stand on your own feet.

So... I told her to do that, to stand on her own feet, to deal with her life by herself. I want no part of it.

She listened to what I had to say, and there were tears on her part. She told me that her ex-fiance had abused her, but that she'd met someone cool and wonderful and was on the right track.

Sadly, I stopped trusting her a while ago. No word she says, no statement she makes is something that I can trust. I think she's all right in the head, but....

I hope things look up for her in the sense that I wish everyone well, but: it's not my problem anymore. She'll go off and continue to live her life in the way she needs to.

Hoo haw.
Sometimes my life is so weird I don't even know how to begin to try to explain it. It certainly keeps life entertaining. But this is a semi-public forum, so I'll shut up now.

One: We didn't hire the interviewee. I personally would have liked to see him ask for more help when he got locked on problems, but I understand nervousness. So I remain waaaay overbooked for the next several months. Quite quite frightening. I told Kirt I don't think I can make it through the next couple months without some help. Waaaay waaayy too much to do.

Two: We (Juventas) won the soccer championship! Woooooo-hooooooo! I even drew two yellow cards - that is, people were playing me so rough that they received yellow cards. I almost drew three, but I wasn't yelling loud enough for the guy to look where he was going before he ran me over. :-) My parents came and watched, which was really cool of them. My mom even brought me cookies! I didn't score any goals, but had an assist and I think helped take their team mentally out of their game. Half of their team was really cool and understood that the game was supposed to be for fun, but some of their guys started getting really angry that I was in their way, that they were getting calls for knocking me down (go figure... and here I thought it was Battering Ram Soccer...). One guy on the sideline - and this is my favorite Insult (note capital letter to denote superiority) Of The Year- yelled out "You're a liability!" during a big to-do after the third time they got called for running into me when looking the opposite direction. It definitely sticks to your brain a little because you can't figure out what they mean, but it's not exactly something you take to heart when your team is up and you're playing a good game. The worst part is that the other team played a very good game! They should have been happy with making it close (I know people are competitive, but puhl-leaze! - it's a co-rec league, winners only get cupcakes!), but instead their players started being whiny jerks. The sad thing was that I even came and watched their (Corixa Wooly Buggers) last game, bringing them all Tang Juice Snacks (new, they're Capri Sun rip-offs) and cheering them on. *I* was looking forward to a fun friendly game. Oh well. So anyways: we get the real victory *and* the moral victory as well. I may have to have trophies made. And it turns out we did indeed win last summer's championship too: unless the #2 team wins (like we did), the #1 team is the winner. So since last year's game was canceled (no ref), we're the champions then too. Not nearly as exciting as playing the game, but hey! Now I've won 2 co-rec soccer championships and one co-rec basketball championship. It's probably *all* my doing. ;-)

Three: I caught a baseball tonight at the Mariner's game! Kirt had some extra tickets, so he gave some to Dave (former Kirt reporteee, now lead for Networking) and myself. I ended up taking Megan - but that's the next news item - and we had a fun game. She didn't really know baseball, but I think she had lots of fun with all the people being goofy around us... just a general lazy night outside. Theatre with big bats. :-) Anyways, in the ninth inning Stan Javier fouled a ball over to our side (by third base) and it bounced off somebody (maybe a seat?) right into my lap! So I have my first ever Official Major League Baseball, complete with scuff mark from being hit. I thought that was very cool.

Finally... the whole tumultuous ride that started waaay back when Anne called me from Europe is completely over at long last. On the way home from the Mariners game, Megan and I talked about the relationship between us. We went into detail on the relationship between us, and regardless of all else agreed that we were best as friends. It is completely closed with her and I am much much happier now, because...

It used to bother my girlfriends that all my friends were ex-girlfriends... now it's bothering *me*. Ken, one of the coolest people in the universe, moves away - I kinda wanted to hug him yesterday as he left because he feels almost like a brother - , Kate is leaving shortly for *up to four years!!!!*, Tracy who I dearly love but have yet to get back in touch with is leaving in January... every *non-relationship* friend I've most cherished - especially really really cool guys (Andrew, Luke, Ken) - has moved away. I mean, there *are* some local still, but the people who I've been the closest to are going away. That leaves me with almost no close friends who are perpetually platonic - someone with whom I feel I can be completely straight-forward and talk to about anything since there's no intrigue at all between us. That is, jealousy doesn't come into play, etc etc etc.


I'm going to handle some more backlog ... finish my resume, get my passport, spend some time over in Fremont, etc., and start making new *guy* friends. I'm really happy things are guaranteed platonic between Megan and myself... I think I'm going to get sick if anybody flirts with me in the next week. There's some attraction between Megan and myself, but neither of us wants what the other wants, and I'm going to value her much more highly as someone I can talk completely and honestly with than as anything else.

I really am uninterested in even flirting right now. Only someone extremely special, someone who I thought the Magic (capital 'M') could be there with, would be someone I would want to be involved with right now.

I'm really glad Megan understood. I'm so relieved to have been able to ensure that the friendship between us still viable.
Saturday day night at Ken's party I ran into Mary (Mary! I didn't get to talk to her enough: she's a delight), who said she'd run into Cynthia, who 'missed me'. That *hurt*. I felt about two inches high. Cynthia... aiiigh.

I find that woman way too physically attractive to want to talk to. I'm sure she thinks I hate her now - it's been a couple months - but how do you politely call that you find very physically attractive and have really good chemistry and offhandedly offer them their things back without stirring up the wrong kind of sentiments? Because if I talked with her it would be because I like her a lot, not that I desire here. So I've been chickening out on talking to her. I'll bite the bullet soon, but aigh will I have to watch my step.

This is exactly the reason why I'm getting really unhappy with how few of my close friendships are purely platonic.

Sigh. I'll learn. Really.

I think Sundays in general are more enjoyable than Saturdays because there's Societal Pressure to have fun Saturday, whereas Sunday is supposed to be a relaxing day, so it's okay to slack. I myself spent the day over at the Ballard Locks... I hadn't been there in years. I actually got up the gumption to call Cynthia and give her her things back at long last, but she wasn't around. The locks are fairly boring, but a good spot for a picnic, I think. I spent the time catching up on my letter-writing. Finally, I wrote Rachel my 'goodbye and have fun in Florida' letter, about a month after she left. :-\ Oh well... I'm sending her a couple nifty things, so she'll be happy. It's sad to have had all these friends leave.

Since it *has* been a little depressing, I made the night a Comedy Night... I was curious about Bill Hicks (via the references in Preacher) and Lenny Bruce (due to mass idolatory), so I got a Hicks CD and rented a Bruce video. The video was boring - mostly a diatribe on Bruce being the target of censorship - but Hicks was very funny. We share a lot of the same views on contemporary society: it's nice to see such a politically aware/cynical comic with that much talent. It's a shame that he's dead.

Andrew and I used to spend our time together when we weren't outside, playing basketball, etc., watching comedy shows. It's nice to get back to those 'roots'. And if Andrew actually does move back next Fall... mwuhahaha! I'd have someone to join a basketball team with, maybe work out with. I need someone to work out with. I've been trying to think of good work-out partners for the ProClub, but I've got very weird standards, and so haven't come to any conclusions yet. We'll see. An athletic Patrick would be good. Somebody who I wouldn't be intimidated by, somebody who wouldn't work out harder than I do... starting up racquetball again would be fun, but I'd like to gain bulk, which I think would only be possible with a hyper-challenging sport like waterpolo. Val and Mary said they were going to start working out, and I was almost tempted to ask if I could join them... I think I need to work out with a woman... something non-competitive is what I need.

I looked at houses over in Fremont today. Many of the lots appeared really small, but I've seen others that have bigger backyards/gardens. I'll call around this very week. One potential issue is that it appears that not only is the Rocket shut down (temporarily? hope hope) but I heard something last week about the Outdoor Cinema losing its lot. ? Grr. Seattle is expanding and taking the cool places away from us. I looked at some places around Redmond as well.

The Mr. T Experience is playing in Seattle on the 29th! Woo-hoo! These are the guys who made "My Brains and Your Looks", which Splunge covered in their concerts (unfortunately, it wasn't recorded). Splunge did it a lot better, but the band is quirky fun. And Steve Martin's "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" is in town at a semi-pro theater until the 14th. It's got Einstein. We like Einstein. Plus the Anne Sexton "Transformations" at the Richard Hugo House, and a new Philip Glass piece (which everyone else would probably hate, but hey... I *like* minimalism), *and* Uncle Bonsai in town for the weekend!

But that weekend Warren Ellis (Transmet, Planetary) will be in NYC doing signings! :

Saturday 30 September: I sign at Jim Hanley's Universe in New York. Will also be doing a Q&A session with an audience sometime that day. The rest of the meetings and summits to plan my eventual takeover of the world fit in around these two commitments. I also drink between the signing and the talk and rupture a brain hemisphere when a NYC bartender avoids putting ice in my Scotch without being stridently ordered to hold the ice first.

Go to this link to see the entire tour schedule for all of you folks outside of the original 13.

Steve got Kate a sapphire pendant for her birthday. It looks very pretty. Sadly, she thinks it's too valuable to take with her on her trip. But she loves my CD (I made her a 98 track CD of me singing silly songs for her) so much that she may bring a CD player after all. It's silly, but these kind of things bring her lots of pleasure. That makes me happy. I like being able to bring a smile to someone that I care for so much. I'll miss her when she's gone.

My mom makes terrific cookies. She brought some to my soccer championship game. I hadn't had time to sit down and eat any until this past weekend, but mmmm. I'd forgotten how good of a cook my mom is.

I like how the QuickTime 4.1 free player asks if you want to upgrade now to the for-pay player. The options are "Why Upgrade?", "Upgrade Now", and "Later". If you don't like to use your mouse and so try to Tab between the buttons (a standard Windows technique), the QuickTime Upgrade pegs your CPU and hangs. That's so cool.

I really love being forced to give my e-mail address when I try to download software. Surprisingly, my e-mail address usually turns out to be "" (Rob Glaser's old e-mail address, now defunct). Who knew? Oh well. I long ago figured out how to turn off the RealPlayer's nasty "You Will Register Now" message without actually registering, and I feel much happier about the whole thing. Actually, what really makes me happy is that Real got put on the Internet Blackhole List (IBL) a while back - meaning that all smart sysadmins would be blocking all e-mail from RealNetworks. They got put on it because they forced people to submit their e-mail address. Since many people hate this, those users would submit fake e-mail addresses, which often caused random people to get random promo e-mail from RealNetworks. This in turn generated massive spam complaints about Real, which in turn led to the IBL. Why can't we all just not ask users for their e-mail? There's no purpose. Nothing I ever do with the RealNetworks player would require their contacting me...

I can just see it now... I get e-mail out of the blue: "Dear Zach, While you were playing that clip last week, you left your wallet on the desk. You can stop by and pick it up anytime!" ? It's just annoying and invasive is what it is. And the whole player upsell idea... aigh. I just want the frickin' free player. Actually, no. I don't want the either. I want WMP to be able to play back the file. And if it can't, I don't really want it. There hasn't been any compelling stored-content reason to ever use the other players. The only reason I've ever used the QuickTime Player was to view the classic IBrator commercials, and to view the Art of Noise music video included on the Japanese version of Seduction. RealPlayer? Hmm. I don't think I've ever used it for anything than for having fun with people tracking the versions of RealPlayers hitting their server: I changed it on my computer so that it sends version "Windows Media Player G2 Emulator" up to the server. Heh heh. Oh well. I actually just keep these other players on my box because it gives me knowledge of the same pains that users are referring to.

Anyways. That's a boring topic.

We had our WM7 Ship party last week! It was the same day as Kate's birthday. First Steve and I took Kate to the Ringling Brother and Barnum and Bailey circus. It was actually a really good circus: they had lots of varied acts. Not Cirque de Soleil by any stretch of the imagination, but still: a very good circus. After that, we headed off over to the Ship party. The Windows Media group had rented out the Experience Musiic Project (EMP) for the night.

I wasn't terribly thrilled with *most* of the EMP: it was a fun Saturday diversion but seemed a little shallow. I enjoyed the archive/library a lot, though: there was a section dedicated to rap, hip-hop, and sampling. The Jam Session area was probably the most fun, but it was hard to get in synch in ten minutes (the time limit). Oh well.

The highlight of quickly stopping by the party was the parting gift: we all got Rio 600 portable players. It's kind of a funky form factor, but it's cute and should be fun for skiing this winter. Sadly, I can't seem to find a "320MB backpack" - the big storage clip - for it yet. Oh well. In time.

Soccer this past week was horrible. I played a generally good game - my positioning was generally great, but some of my passes were off and I didn't sub out enough - , but I kept getting smacked into and kicked at. I got knocked down several times, and the other team started getting a little whiny about it. Finally late in the game, I was dribbling the ball when the girl behind me started elbowing me and kicking me. As usual, I yelled "Come on!", and just kept dribbling. I made the pass up to another player, turned to go lend him support... when the girl that had been kicking me squared up, reared back, and tried shoving me with both hands. ?!? I have no idea what that was about. Regardless, I'm not about to get hit if at all possible, so I dodged, grabbed her hands, and let her momentum carry her to the ground. We both got yellow carded for the incident. I don't think I deserved it, but at that point I was more than happy with leaving the game: I had no desire to play further. Soccer used to be fun, but ... I don't know. If I could think of a better way to keep in shape, I think I'd quit tomorrow. I may join a basketball league. At least there the contact level is always defined, rather than being whimsically defined from week to week by a referee. The self-policing of basketball is far superior to a refereed league, IMO. I think the referee helps people not think about how they're playing, whereas when you're on a virtual honor system, you know that if you don't do your part, the whole system will break down. Sigh. Well, we won the soccer game, so that was good. But still... people have gotten 6 yellow cards in the past 3 games for fouling me. That's just not healthy for me. After the game Wednesday night I was physically sick from getting roughed up. I can play a full game in any physical sport (basketball, football, soccer) and take a lot of punishment, but at a certain point, I can tell that later on that night I'm not going to be able to eat anything. It's only been in Seattle Co-Rec Soccer - twice now - that I've gotten banged up that much. Football has been a gentler sport. That's just sick. It probably has a lot to do with the fact I play tenaciously - I play close and tight like I would in basketball - but people in soccer don't have the same respect for each other's space that they do in other sports. I don't understand. In football and basketball, people understand you can't play or go through someone. In soccer... I don't see that. Oh well. It keeps me in shape.

So after soccer, I went home and had ice cream (Ben and Jerry's Mint Chocolate Cookie) and Mountain Dew and watched the Clerks DVD. I figured I'd pamper myself and sulk. Kate came out and kept me company

Then the next day at work, I was taking home an armful of stuff from my office when one of my most cherished posessions - a candleholder that my first girlfriend/love Sonja gave me - fell and broke! That was terrible. I keep all the letters and whatnot that each girlfriend gives me, but Sonja was my first love, and this was my first handmade item someone ever gave me in a relationship. I cherish handmade items, small things, tokens of affection. My chest of drawers at home is littered with the smallest oddest things that people gave me - which I cherish. I'm still wearing on my wrist a little Friendship Bracelet that I got a month ago at a mini-golf night from Rachel and Ken... So I think that helps illuminate at least a tiny bit how upset I was at breaking the candleholder. I'm not sure what to do. It's currently sitting in a mostly broken pile on my desk. Should I try to glue it back together? Do I dare to reopen communication with Sonja and prooffer a trade of some sort for a new candleholder? Her brother works here at Microsoft. It's tempting. The candleholder isn't as present in my life as my wallet from Andrew is, but it has been as meaningful over time in its own way. Not nearly as much as the fuzzy tiger blanket but... sigh.

It's just not going to feel right gluing it back together. Sigh.

On the plus side, I got two handmade cards. Both Anne and Kate sent me cards they made. I really appreciated that. It was a nice lift after a weird week.

I still don't have an employee. Chadd and Kirt say I can't take any time off until I find an employee: but that when I do, I get two weeks vacation after they start. They're kidding to some extent - I'm going to be taking some time off to visit some friends before then - but I was thinking about taking a couple weeks off in early December, around my birthday, so that fits in well. Now I just have to find an employee... <frown>. I'm going to cozy up right close to the recruiters and try to make things happen.

A Penny For The Old Guy
When was the last time you asked your mom for a hug, or had a family member make you soup?

Kate moved out yesterday in preparation for leaving for her trip around the world. It is very disconcerting and hard to watch as your best friend moves away. Helping them remove all of their stuff from your place is depressing. I'm very happy for her: I think she's going to have a fabulous time traveling and growing. But on a personal level, she completed me, helped connect me in the world as only a true best friend can. As we said when we were packing, things are just Simple between us. I maintain a comfort level with her as deep as with anyone... I have complete faith in her and respect for her. And there hasn't been any standard boy/girl weirdness between us for four years now. We've just been friends. No more, no less. That's something I really value. Simple is good.

So my best friend of four years is moving away, bunches of friends have been moving away, I'm dreadfully overworked, I'm not enjoying most of my hobbies like I used to... I'm more than a little run down.

In order to combat this, I spent last weekend (Friday AM to Monday PM) in New York. I kind of sprung it on Kirt (my boss). He and Chadd are hyper-aware that I'm going to be very hard-pressed to keep up with my work-load as time marches without someone working for me. Thus Kirt's fairly unhappy with me going away for any length of time: it potentially leaves the team in a bind. But he realized that it's better for me to be gone now than to be gone later on in crunch-time.

It was great to get away. I spent the first day in bed, happily recovering, away from the buzz of my everyday life. One thing that really delights me about the East Coast is the ready availability of soup. Which to me go hand to hand with another East Coast delight: trains. I met up with Anne in New Haven, and we then took the train back up to NYC, soup in tow.

Part of the reason NYC was interesting as a destination - besides being the one place I could visit without having to worry about whether or not I should see someone and stress out about how I wasn't being a good friend if I wanted to be alone or cranky - was that Warren Ellis was dropping by NYC at Jim Hanley's Universe as part of his six city / ten day mini-tour. Warren is currently one of my favorite writers: he writes hard and viscerally. I am most envious.

So Anne and I got in line, had her books signed by Warren, I gave him a brief bow of respect (I'd left my books at home and they didn't have anything there that I really desired to be signed for sale), and ended up just browsing around for a while. Sadly, Warren's talk that night was limited admission, so we ended up not being able to attend it. It was very nice to meet Warren though. While I have a signed book by Dan Simmons (thanks to Rachel), I'd never actually *met* any of the people I consider the upper echelon of writers today (Dan Simmons, Alan Moore, Warren Ellis, Kyle Baker, ...) until this.

After we left the signing, we thought about seeing a show the first night, but we were both pretty wiped out. So instead we got Transformers: The Movie and retired to our room to watch that. A very silly movie, but fun nonetheless. Anne kept saying "SO CUTE!" every time the DinoBots were shown, which was really enchanting.

It's really easy to relax around Anne. I think we share this feeling... while things are more confusing between us than between Kate and myself, I think we both find it very easy to have faith in the other. Just lazing about watching Transformers with her was one of the best things I could have done to help myself relax and get back in the flow of life. We feel very safe with each other. We've had our ins and outs, our ups and downs, but its obvious to each of us that we'll be there for each other in time of need. It's nice to have people like that in your life.

While things haven't always been smooth between the two of us, I think we understand that we can be fully ourselves around each other. Around Anne, I feel I can be tired or unhappy without feeling self-conscious. That's one of the biggest reasons I was willing to spend part of my critical vacation weekend with her: she slips into my pocket like my car keys, like just another part of who I am.

It's hard for me to be truly unhappy. I enjoy life so much that its hard for me to not show that around others... I feel like I should be the positive person it's so easy for me to be rather than to spend unnecessary time being down. I feel there's no reason to be unhappy ever: I'm alive, I'm experiencing life, and that is incredibly fantastic. For some reason I get to breathe, get to smile, laugh, eat, cry, ... Everyday I get up out and crawl out of bed is a miracle. Life hurts and is unfair, but it is mine. It is my life, the only one I have and I'm so pleased to be here it's hard - it feels stupid - to wallow, to give in to the stresses of life and be miserable. We all need an outlet for our stresses... my outlet has been being nice and caring to others. It gets back to Rachel and my discussion on altruism... maybe what I do isn't altruistic in that positive good to others is my way of expunging the bad from my own life. A very positive healing process.

I think my feelings on life were most shaped by my grandfather, Norman Pope. I met him late in his life, after his strokes. He seemed so full of life and love, but had been so betrayed and let down by his body. I think subconsciously I promised myself then to always live fully in my time, to show my feelings to others, to be myself, unmasked.

Megan said that while she saw the various issues that existed/would exist between the two of us, part of the what offset her was that I was so upfront about who I was, about what I was about. That was a high compliment. I think it's very integral to who I am and how I feel about people.

Take Lisa, for example. She is vibrantly herself, and so I feel madly attracted to her every time I see her. I want my friends - and especially my partner - to be vividly themselves, to trust and care easily, and to understand their curse of immortality.

It's my staunch belief that we're immortal. It's true. Find one person who can definitely say that they are not immortal. You can't. The only people who know differently are dead. This ties deeply into one's perception defining one's universe. The curse of immortality is that it doesn't last, as John Keats might say if he were alive today. We all live forever until we don't. At some point you are no longer going to be immortal, so you'd best do everything vital to you and your enjoyment of life before that point.

I love you, mom and dad, Derek and Dustin, Grandma Love who gave me a grandfather to believe in, Kate, Anne, my friends... thanks for being part of my life. Sonja, I'm sorry. To everyone: I wish you love and happiness.

"It doesn't matter. After New York, nothing matters. That's what I'm trying to say. Dan, please... sit with me. I need you."
"I need you too."
"No. I mean I need you. Need you now. Dan, all those people, they're dead. They can't disagree or eat Indian food, or love each other... Oh, it's sweet. Being alive is so damn sweet."
"Laurie? Wh-what do you want me to do?"
"I want you to love me. I want you to love me because we're not dead.
Here... Take these off. I want to see you. I want to see you and taste you and smell you, just because I can."

-Alan Moore, Watchmen

You don't know what it's like to have a home, and people you love - you couldn't. You don't have a life. You have a self. I had a grandma. And parents. And a completely rotten cat named Filthy... and a boyfriend so sweet and funny I could never quite believe he was real.

-John Ney Rieber, Girl in the Box

But I digress.

Sunday we actually did some tourist activity. Although I'm not particularly fond of heights, we went up to the observation deck on the Empire State Building. It presented a great view of the island. It didn't seem nearly as dangerous to me as the Space Needle does. I think this is because you can actually feel the Space Needle swaying, which makes my heart skip beats. There wasn't anything particularly enticing about the Empire State Building other than it was really really tall, though. The people working there were brusque, food was extremely limited... I hadn't realized how much the restaurant at the Seattle Center adds. A restaurant gets you talking and focused away from the elevation, which I think helps you appreciate it more.

After that we went to the Central Park Zoo. I must say that this simply spanks the Woodland Park Zoo on the Neat-o Scale. The mouse deer, the cute teeny tiny red panda bears, the piranha (yay)... lots of very interesting species. And of course my personal favorites: the penguins! I could sit and watch penguins all day. They had a great penguin exhibit with ~20 penguins frollicking about in the water and waddling about on land. It was delightful to watch.

Then we headed out to Studio 54 to see Cabaret. The saucy production seemed made for Studio 54. It's not very outstanding musically, but I think it came off very well as a drama. Kiss Me Kate is to me the play to see, but I had already seen that the last time I was in NYC.

Monday we wandered around the East Village doing a little shopping. We had lunch at this fantastic Italian restaurant called Serafina. Seattle has much better Japanese and Thai, but NYC does Italian food like nobody's business. After this we wandered around some more and then bade each other good-bye.

I had to hop a subway turnstile Monday when the card reader improperly rejected my all day subway "Fun Pass" (?). I thought that was a nice addition to my New York experience.

Although I haven't been enjoying soccer very much of late - it hasn't been a very friendly environment - I was pleased that when I was on the sideline last game one of our better strikers said that I needed to get back in the game so we could win. That was nice to hear.

I feel so much better about life now that I've had my little vacation. I've allowed my stresses to vacate my life and ... I just feel good. Not delighted or tipsily ecstatic, but damn good.

I got my car title in the mail, since I paid off my car last month. That's a nice feeling. But a little bittersweet too. As part of moving I've been going through all my old letters and whatnot. I ran across a letter from my parents during one of my hardest times in college wherein they mentioned that my sole asset was my car. Ouch. Ouch ouch. Some times life can be tough.

I was really poor in college. I'd struggled by through my first year well enough - working in the computer labs to supplement what my parents were doing and the little I'd saved. For my second year of college, I had ran for and won election to the student government (ironically enough, as the Vice President for Academic Affairs). This was a paying position, so I thought things would be financially easier my second year. Plus I was *really* excited to be involved in something I cared about.

I happily told my parents and my biological father. In turn, my biological father decided to decrease the amount he was contributing towards my college by more than what I was going to make from my new job. Ouch. Plus there was the yearly tuition hike to deal with... I struggled but got by. I ran for and won reelection the next year. That was a *very* tough year. I was broke or below broke almost all year. I remember going to the grocery store and looking at the food as if somehow that would assuage the hunger I felt. I learned to eat little and spend less. Very bad. Due to various issues, I stuck around at college for the Summer Quarter. Unfortunately, by this time I couldn't pay tuition. So the money I was able to raise at the beginning of the summer went to pay spring tuition. I spent a couple weeks previous to my first summer paychecks (I was working three jobs for a while) living out of my student government office and sleeping in the cardboard box pile behind the Viking Union Bookstore. It wasn't a good place to be. Things straightened out some financially, but I still was never able to raise enough money for summer tuition. Sad thing was that I aced my classes that quarter.

I was kind of at wit's end. I didn't really know where to go to and I didn't really have anyone I felt I could turn to. My girlfriend was there like a rock for me, but I felt so weak I felt it was unfair to her to entwine her in my abyss. I think this is really what destroyed things between her and myself... I don't think I felt valuable enough, of enough merit, to be worthy of her. My inability to lean on her and speak openly with her crushed what we had.

So I decided that I was tired of paddling upstream, of having to claw and fight for what I thought I needed.
I gave long deliberation as to what was possible for me, and ended up deciding that of the two big safety options available to everyone, the military was the best option for me. Yech. So I enlisted.

I went back to Redmond, staying at my parents', waiting for the day of departure which was ~7 months away. In the interim, I took a job working at Sierra On-Line as a developer for their first Internet game, Stock Market Challenge. And I got paid. After I thought I'd tried all my options, the one thing (computer programming) I considered almost a hobby turned out to be my salvation. I truly thought that I would spend my life as a political advocate, fighting for what I believed in. In many ways, that's what I'd like to do. At WWU, I'd been laying the framework for some grandiose projects to enhance student power. I still believe. But along the way at Western, I realized that Democrats and Republicans are evil f*cking b*stards who will walk over others to get what they want. My hands aren't clean. I was a jerk when I shouldn't have been. But my ends were the good of the all, versus personal political gain. Yech. That's why I have a hard time Belonging to any political party. Same problem I have with the Catholic church, albeit on a smaller scale. All information and policy will be defined through the prism of the politicos. Thus it is the duty of a good politician to be as invisible as possible- to fully serve the greater good of the community in all things. That's the only political affiliation I'd be willing to stand by, I think: I'm a democratic socialist at heart. I can't remember who said this, but it was said that the people best suited for office are those who least want it.

So anyways. I worked at Sierra On-Line for several months, and quickly realized that my forays into the then-nascent WWW, HTTP, HTML, perl, and other web 'related' technologies combined with a Mac/UN*X programming background weren't just a job, this was a darn good career. After the job with Sierra ended, I took a job doing contract testing at Microsoft on the then-Bengal (later NetShow, later Windows Media) team. I figured that with only semi-official (I was a political science/computer science split major at a liberal arts school) programming experience under my belt, I'd keep honing my skills and become a developer at Microsoft in a couple years.

That's easy to say now, but think about it: developer at Microsoft. That has a ring to most everyone around the world.

I'd been working in test for about three months when I was approached by Mark and Chadd to come join the dev team. They said I was extremely dedicated and bright and would be a nice addition to the team. I was stupefied. "Developer for Sierra On-Line" has no real weight to me (in part because Stock Market Challenge was mostly proof of concept, so I never worked with the real dev wizards they have there), but "developer at Microsoft" was a somewhat holy term.

And mind you, this isn't because I liked Microsoft. I hated Microsoft. I grew up on the Macintosh, learned to love UN*X... the Windows boxes were simply annoying things I had to use to telnet out to get the familar and beloved UN*X korn shell. But at Sierra On-Line I got to work on WinNT 3.51, which actually was surprisingly stable and was almost okay to work with. But the "developers at Microsoft" had brought the Mac the ever cool Word 4 (still in my mind one of the best apps ever), and I appreciated their good work, even if Win3.1 was a bad joke.

Since life was looking up, I canceled my enlistment with the military. Got my own place, got involved with theater (Theater Dangerously) again... basically got back to the act of living and enjoying life.

I hemmed and hawed for a couple months with Mark and Chadd, and had them grill me and educate me to ensure I was developer caliber, and then took the interview plunge. Surprisingly, I got hired. I remember walking into Mark's office - my fourth interview that day, after the lunch interview - and thinking to myself: "Wow. I got the job. What the h*ll?" I knew I'd parked the questions they'd lobbed at me: I knew my C, I'm very good at logic puzzles - my dad fed me a diet of them growing up - , but still... I thought they were looking for some mystic "developer glow" and couldn't believe it as I sat there in Mark's office.

Obviously I got the job. And since then I've felt a very valued part of the team.

Kevin's called me a loose cannon, privately. I tend to go off on brief rampages about how things are broken, I tend to have (and appreciate) a lack of supervision, and I tend to have my own special view of how things should be done. But at the same time I do my job very well, care deeply, am fiercely dedicated to doing the job right, and have a general knack for deducing solutions based upon small amounts of information. I've tended to try to work many hours in order to pick up the slack and forgotten issues that permeate any organization of significant size. I still do to some extent, although not as much as before. There's simply too much to do, and I'd rather tackle a couple big side projects than have a lot of small projects.

I've been told that I'm one of a handful of critical people in the group. For someone who had trouble believing they were qualified to join the "elite ranks" of Microsoft developers, that was quite a compliment. I don't know where I'd go if I left the team. Marketing and PM said they'd be happy to have me, and it'd also be nice to get my hands directly muddying the documentation, web site, support services, etc. waters. It's all very interesting. I think I'll have to ask Chadd whether or not I'm a valued member of the group. After all, if Kate can just walk away, why can't I?

I think the answer as to why I wouldn't walk away is that things aren't done yet. I sincerely believe that WMP looks to be the best media player available, and if that's what I'm going to be working with down the road, I want to make sure that it kicks butt. When I bring up my feature ideas, I get told the bittersweet, "Sounds like a cool idea. Have fun!" So if I had infinite time... I could just go and add these personally-requested and/or user-requested features in. That's so tempting. But alas, I need a life of my own. What I *really* need is an employeee. If I had an employee, I could actually work a normal work-week, and then in that extra time go off and make the player rock. Must. Find. Employee.

Kate, Megan, Steve and myself went out to play mini-golf last night down at the South Center Funplex. A cute girl named Angela came over to me when I was waiting in the ATM line by myself. She asked me to church on Sunday. A very quirky thing. Was she trying to save me or trying to ask me on the safest possible date? Regardless, I politely declined. I'm of the bedrock firm view that religion should be managed at the personal level, without need for mediators nor instruction. Kate reminded me later that I hadn't shown her my official "Proof of Angel-ship" card, which would have been very appropriate. I also need to get my reverend-ship credentials laminated. Ah well.

Rachel and I have been discussing life a lot lately. One interesting thing that came up was how to assess the merits of a relationship. My proposed standards were trust, faith, enchantment, delight, lust and deep happiness. I'm open to ideas here, but it seems like a good start at a list.

I realized finally why I've been reading graphic novels (aka comic books) lately: all my favorite novel authors haven't put out anything in over a year now. Orson Scott Card, David Brin, Robert Holdstock, Simmons... between the four of them, there's only two acknowledged books that have been put out. Thankfully Simmons' Darwin's Blade is coming out this month, but I'd sure like to get my hands on the "Unscheduled Book" he published under a pseudonym... there isn't enough good fiction these days. I've got plenty of good non-fiction to go through, but good fiction I'm sorely lacking in. I had brought a book of Richard Wright's Haiku on my trip to New York, but that was so bad it was painful. I challenge anyone to find a more clunky haiku than the third haiku on the book, on the bottom of the first page. Wow that is incredibly bad. Perhaps I'm biased from reading Basho and other selected anthologies... but still. A drunken ant dipped in paint wandering madly across paper would produce better haiku than this. Wright's book is a tour de force in how NOT to write haiku. After reading good haiku / senryu, Wright's verse seemed to bludgeon the senses. Ah well. He's dead now. We'll have no more of that.

I finally found the Tarantino monologue wherein Top Gun is roundly mocked for its homoeroticism. It isn't as great as I'd hoped, but I do so enjoy tangential monologues.

My Shell Beach. Next time I'm in NYC, I'm going.

"Tradition": One of those words conservative people use as a shortcut to thinking.

-Warren Ellis, Transmetropolitan: The New Scum

Hell is answered prayers.

-Lance Morrow, Daydreams of What You'd Rather Be

As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.

-Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections

Scotch tape makes an excellent impromptu band-aid.

I'm crazy for you but not that crazy.

-Magnetic Fields, (Crazy for You But) Not That Crazy

What does it take to win your heart? What makes you need to hold someone? To get you kissing someone tentatively? What makes your body hunger for someone?

I don't know these things anymore and the answers the people I'm caring give me... are scary. I think I really need not to be flirted with for a while. I'm too much of a romantic, and I think I've been skating around disillusionment for some time now.

I hunger and yearn for those with passion, with a zest for life. What I find attractive - laughter, intelligent/insight, creativity, athleticism - these all represent to me an appreciation for life.

That's what gets my heart afluttering. There's been a lack of sensuality in my life for a while. I need to correct this. I feel like I've been turning my back on an important part of myself. I need to have a friend I care about lie down and let me massage them. I need to go for a hike this weekend or maybe just write letters outside somewhere.

I finally got some good new books. Of particular note was Jesus' Son: it's a very good short story collection, but damnedably short. I must say that the movie they produced from represents the single best transfer of a book to the silver screen that I've ever seen: both tell almost exactly the same story, but both succeed in their own fashions.

I realize, of course, that it's no shame to be poor. But it's no great honor either.

-Reb Tevye, Fiddler on the Roof

Last night on the way back from soccer I stopped by Subway and got a sandwich. There was a desolate guy out front begging for change, so I gave him $60 just as I was walking off. I watched him out of the corner of my eye as I was driving off. He didn't notice for a bit, then turned around and faced the wall for a while after he counted it, and then wandered off. I wonder what he did next? The disparity of wealth in this country is sometimes quite painful. Jessica got very angry with me at one point for giving cash to street dwellers - but why not? I don't see myself running out of money any time soon, and it means so little to me and often so much to others.

I think I'm hypersensitive on the issue because I was so very poor during college. I don't want other people to go through what I went through.

Two dollars means a snack to me, but it means a big deal to you.

-Arrested Development, Mr. Wendal

It's sick. I left a dollar lying on a chair at work in a hallway, and it remained there for days. This is part of the reason I often pay for dinner: I know I have the money, and maybe you don't. And if you do, buy dinner for someone else, who can then repeat that favor and so on until we've achieved a delicious trickle-down effect.

I don't know what $60 buys. I don't know what $1000 buys. I don't know what it takes to live anymore because I just have it at this point in my life. I no longer have to scrounge for change, drive on close to empty all the time, kite checks, any of that. And I still don't know what happened. I'd gone through my own private hell back in 1995, and yet at the end of that year, little old me with really only self-taught programming knowledge was being recruited by the then-Bengal-later-NetShow-now-Windows Media dev team. It's a sexy job to me. It pays well. It's at Microsoft. I have a cool/impressive title. I got to be flown out to be a technical advisor to our legal team for part of the DOJ proceedings. There's no way I would have ever thought I'd be here. I thought I'd be Getting Discipline for four years in the military - and then what? Probably a computer programmer somewhere, actually, but I thought I'd be scraping by for years.

I've been really oddly lucky. No one can say that it doesn't balance out, but to have been so downtrodden then and to be so unfettered and free now... I hope I'm making the best of this. People often think they'll have better days, that things will improve, but will they? What if things are the best they are ever going to be right now?

I saw Kate off Friday night. I drove up to Vancouver, BC, since she was leaving from there. It was nice to see her again before she left, but since it was her parents and Steve and Steve's parents, we didn't much time together. Which I guess was good, because it helped us all not get too emotional. Kate's mom and I seemed the most upset... we plotted various ways that Kate would need not to leave. I kept telling her that New Zealand had been canceled, but it didn't work. Anyways, we all hugged goodbye and watched her wander off at the airport until we could no longer see her. And then waited some more Just In Case. And then went and looked at the terminal map just so we could know where she was. We made some small talk to keep from being upset. She's such a lovely person to have in your life... I'll miss her physical presence, but I will enjoy being able to talk to her over e-mail. I've already noticed that I'm talking with her more now since I no longer get the *feeling* of communicating with her just by seeing her: now I actually *do* have to communicate.

I drove back down from Vancouver Friday night. I'd gotten up at 2am that morning (my sleep schedule is completely out of whack), so was fairly exhausted, but had figured that staying in Bellingham might help exorcise some of its demons. Plus the Colophon Cafe has wonderful soup, which is a rarity in Seattle. Driving on the way down, I was about as tearful as I can remember being. I kept driving, but tears were spilling down my face onto my neck, and my nose was simply stopped. I couldn't find any kleenex, so just had to put up with it until I got to Cle Elum and a gas station.

The funny thing is, the big source of my tears was disappointment.

Not about Kate going away - I'd been through that already and I'll see her again and I'll talk to her more than before and that'll be good.

But about my "friends", about the people I care about.

Three years back Lisa let me stay at her place when my car broke down. She didn't make any sort of fuss, she just let me stay. I appreciate that as much as anything that's happened in the past four years... there's so few example I can remember of people being solicitous of my needs, of what I want or need...

And so as I headed back from saying goodbye to my best friend for one to maybe three-four years, with the knowledge that she may move to some other city when she returns, with the knowledge that her and Steve's friendship built on their travels together will eclipse whatever we had (which I'm happy about for her), I was somewhat upset and probably would have cried anyways. But what really got me *angry* was simply Knowing -

I knew the way you know about a good melon.

-woman in documentary, When Harry Met Sally

- that of the people who might be Interested in me, that none of them would call. And that probably none of my other "friends" would call. There's no expectations here. Would I do the same thing for someone else? - I'd like to think I would. It just upset me a great great deal because I think at times I am very considerate and concerned about the Other. I have my huge gaping flaws and shortsidedness and I don't disagree with any of the accusations you could lay at my doorstep. But that's not the point. The point is whether someone would call up after presumably one of the most traumatic experiences I'd be going through this decade and say, "Hey- do you need to talk?". And Survey said that no, they wouldn't be there, that they wouldn't make that outreach.

I don't expect anything. I never do. But I really needed - and need - to think about this. Because I think it showed me a lot about who I want to be. It showed me a lot about the relationships I think I should have.

At this point, I think I'm just going to have a Quiet Time by myself for a couple weeks. Megan and I were going to be making cookies later today, but I just had to cancel. There's no way I want to see anyone for a little while. I don't want to put on any pretense, and I don't want to have to explain myself. In my opinion of the moment, y'all just weren't there. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm being too harsh, but that's *how* *I* *feel*, and it's not something I want to be talked out of. I'll think about it, give it some time, wrap my head around it, but right now... I just felt that I had no one to really truly turn to who wasn't going to want something to return.

So anyways I stopped in Bellingham on my way home. I got some food, and checked out the arcade I used to play at - now long gone. I was considering staying in town, but as I kept thinking, I realized just how much home to me is my bed, my tiger blanket, my weird NASA Space Foam mattress that I can just sink into and be at peace. I wanted that. I tried wrapping my brain around some way of paying someone to drive my car since I was so exhausted, but couldn't come up with any good ideas. "Hey! You! Want to drive a Pathfinder and then go for a taxi ride?" just didn't seem like it'd work. So I stopped at B'ham's Cellophane Square, got a Fatboy Slim and Public Enemy (Fear of a Black Planet)disc to listen to, and drove along bopping to that for the exhausted ride home. I also listened to the Magnetic Field's Papa was a Rodeo about a twenty times. Since this is my journal, I'd direct you to a review of the album - 69 Love Songs and suggest you buy it if you don't already have it. It's one of the best albums it'll be your pleasure to listen to again and again: you'll keep finding new things, new songs, in it. Anyways, the chorus:

Papa was a rodeo / Mama was a rock'n'roll band
I could play guitar and rope a steer / before I learned to stand
Home was anywhere with diesel gas / Love was a trucker's hand
Never stuck around long enough / for a one-night stand
Before you kiss me you should know / Papa was a rodeo

-Stephin Merrit, Papa was a Rodeo

just resonated within me. It's hard to express why, but I think in large part it was the expressed feeling of relational despair - the thought that this potential relationship is doomed.

Not being called Friday, not being contacted this weekend... let's simply say that there's no one that I feel any desire to hold currently, let alone spend time with. People are selfish, but I don't have to put with it, hypocrite that I am.

What do I want? My dad talked about that last weekend when we drove over to see my brother in Pullman (at Washington State University). I want intellect, humor, passion/appreciation for life, ferocity, strength of self, and consideration. The last quality is getting bigger on my list as time goes by. I very much like being able to make other happy, but in retrospect it rankles when it's not even a relatively equivalent exchange.

I want a Pippi, not a Cassandra. I always need to lead my life by my heart, and I don't like those that don't.

I don't like sex, I like romance and passion. Not clawing biting grabbing - I don't want to be fucking, I want to be in love with someone. Making love on a beach - that's sexy. Kissing each other at a stop light for ten minutes? That's sexy. Sex? It's awkward and goofy. I really like to seduce my partner, to take things slowly. As I've heard before, there's a great gulf between a caress and a grab. If it's awkward for a woman to be grabbed by her partner - and that fits in with the stereotype - what of a man? I'm not 'stereotypical', I'm a concerned and I think good partner. I want to be kissed and seduced with caresses and poetry and candles, not just to hear that oh-so-lovely "wanna fuck?". Because if it's a flat invitation to sex, I don't care what words you use, it's just fucking. I'm familar with a lack of foreplay - it can be fine if that's what you both want at a special time, if your passion, your need for each other is burning high. But on the whole, I'm going to be want to be romanced and to romance my partner or I'm quite possibly going to feel used, like an object, and the question is whether the relationship can ever truly recover, whether both partners can feel as equals, once that has transpired over time.

That's to me what killed the relationship with Linda. I felt like a penis with legs. I know she seemed to worship me - I've never had a bigger fan - but maybe that was the problem - somewhere along the way she may have lost how to approach me as a peer, and eventually I felt degraded and had to end things.

I was told by an ex a while back that I helped her become more comfortable with her sexuality, to help her understand that it was about an Us, rather than a Me!. That's a beautiful compliment. We can be very sexually repressed in this society, and I think the women are the one who (pardon the phrase) get the short end of the stick.

But it also got me thinking about what I'm talking about here, about my needs and what I'm getting out of the matter. I think it's been a long time since I've been in love with someone that's been a good partner. A friend says that that's not important, that sexuality is something it's okay not to be good partners about. Respectfully, that's caca. Intimacy is of course one of the unique bonds of a intimate relationship. It's a unique way that the two of you connect. A relationship is about a lot more than sex, but I want to be kissed and caressed and desired over time. To seduce and be seduced alike. We're supposed to be partners in all matters. Massage doesn't need to lead to sex, cuddling doesn't need to turn to Evil... but massage and cuddling are very important to me. And kissing. I want to kiss and be kissed anywhere I am with you. The point is that we are attracted to each other, that we have a unique and special bond that you don't find with anyone else. There is absolutely no reason why you can't kiss anywhere.

And I don't know the last time that I made out with someone outdoors. I know the last time I had sex outdoors... it was on that afore-mentioned beach.

But again, at this point, sex is the last thing I want. What I want most is intimacy and desire, to be out with someone at park bench and know that you have to kiss them now because it's just Important you do so.

So. I was alone Friday night. I certainly could have called any number of people who would have been most willing to solace me, but that's not what I wanted. Sometimes you want to be looked after, to be coddled, and I'm pouting because that didn't happen. I'm going to take a couple weeks off from everyone, spend some time by myself, and try to wrap my head around what I should go, about where I should go from here.

I gave out roses at work Friday. I've appreciated having the chance to work here, so I gave those I most enjoyed roses. Hopefully they had a brighter day as a result.

Our soccer team is #2 now after a 3-1 victory last night. Nick had a corner kick which skimmed off of Tim's head that I put in for a "volley" goal as Jason put it. It was nice because everyone was really impressed. One of our girls got a yellow card too, which I found amusing, since it's probably only the second yellow card I can remember a girl getting in the past two years I've been playing. I felt really out of shape though. I think it was because I was so f*ckin' deprssed Friday. Crying can take a lot out of you.

That night Dennis wept. I heard him, very late. I hadn't spoken to him since since the lice diagnosis, but his snuffles woke me and weakened my resolve. "What is it"?
"Nothing," he said. Then: "Discouragement."
"You're sad?"
"I think so," he said. "It doesn't interest me, though."

-Jane Shapiro, The Dangerous Husband

I have the opposite problem. Happiness doesn't interest me. The romance of skepticism, of brooding moroseness, calls to me strongly. There's something darkly attractive about striving that I secretly crave.

The only way to be happy is to love to suffer.

-Woody Allen

I find that things are just way way too easy. I shouldn't kid myself. People do care about me, and if I I had asked, any number of people would have been willing to be there for me. But it's been very hard for me to be really alone these past ... decades, and so I don't want to do that. I don't *want* someone to be there for me, and so I think I've been acting like a jerk to some extent because of it.

I feel so happy, so relatively blessed, that I feel guilty. Why is everything working out so nicely for me? I'm certainly not making the kind of contribution my parents (teachers) are to society. I take a good chunk of my time and help people use Windows Media, but since I'm in many ways a neo-Luddite, I don't necessarily view that as a net positive. It does help reduce the level of frustration in the world, though, which is good. One less thing to be baffled or angry about, and when things get working for you, maybe one more reason to be smile or be kind. I like that idea.


It turns out that Anne had called on Friday to check up on me when I was coming back. She called a couple times this past weekend, and we talked for a while. As much as I *wanted* to feel rejected, as much as I desired to feel unloved... I just can't. I need to stop pretending and accept the fact that, tragic as it is, I'm a nice guy and people like me.

I'm serious about this. Happiness depresses me.

And I woke up on Sunday in the middle of deeply needed rest to get repeated phone call from Megan... I think she called 4-5 times throughout the day - "you sleeping?", "yeah", "I'll call back later" - until I talked with her for a while so she knew I was okay.

I talked with her and told her I need some space for myself, the ability to feel alone for a little while. I just needed to take a breather, get my feet under me and start acknowledging that I do have it pretty good but that's okay.

I'm already feeling better. Simply acknowledging that I've felt crowded improves things. And knowing that I need to stop trying to pretend to be unhappy... it's been a fairly critical realization.

I've always had very firm philosophical standards, and I think I don't feel like I've been giving enough back to society. I'll try to see what more I can do. I'm going to do a little door-to-door politicing tomorrow, and that will be good. I don't really support this particular candidate, but I do want people to vote, so if they're voting regardless of who for: I'm quite happy.

Speaking of voting, I feel insulted by Lieberman telling the public that "A vote for Nader is a vote for Bush!". No, a vote for Nader is a vote for Nader. Slate has a semi-interesting article on the issue, but I don't like the writer's viewpoint. What I find is that the Republican and Democratic parties are very beholden to corporate interests. Note I don't say "special interests" because that's imprecise, but instead the precise "corporate interests" as opposed to "human interests". I think I would have voted for Gore on the strength of his experience and his previously esposed ecological beliefs, but now... I hesitate. The truth of the matter is that a vote cast for Nader is to Gore the same as a vote not cast - it doesn't affect the key struggle between Gore/Bush - but to Nader and the Green Party it may mean the world. It could give them a chance at desperately needed funding which could help slowly build the Green Party into a viable third party. *That's* what I feel a Democrat (note derisive upper-case 'D') should be afraid of - the idea that the current concentration on corporate interests is anathema to the "left-wing". A true political spectrum - based upon the current major issues - would be Human Interests vs Corporate Interests, not Democrat vs Republican. Since the Democrats are addicted to Corporate Interest money and would have to shift the most in order to maintain viabilty... I think the Democratic party potentially should be fearing for its life.

Hmm. I'll give it some more thought, but currently I'll be voting Nader.

Senator Gorton's meeting with RealNetworks (where his opposition Maria Cantwell works) was canceled by RealNetworks. I find that very interesting. I'm still confused about whether Cantwell is an ethically sound choice: she was tightly involved in some ugly RealNetworks corporate politics, but I'm not sure of *where* she truly stood. As it is, I fear I'm giving her guilt by association. Which may be what Gorton's campaign managers are planning on: maybe this is a little wake-up call to Microsoft employees and those we know that Cantwell works for RealNetworks, and that its in our corporate-best-interest to vote for Gorton. I don't buy into that - Microsoft can vanish from the face of the earth and I'll still be happy if unemployed - but I do buy that there's been some serious ethical lapses on the part of RealNetworks, and as a RealNetworks VP, she's part of that in my eyes. At this point I'm making the choice not to vote in the Senate race, but it wouldn't take much to swing me either way. I'd love to hear Cantwell explain how she wasn't involved with what went on or that she fought it but... it just ain't likely.

To clarify, as I've gotten some inquiries: I'm a socialist at heart. I believe in taxation and the role of governance to provide education, a social safety net, corporate management, and protection (militarily and environmentally) of the locale. I'm strongly pro-choice in all *personal* matters, and a strong advocate of firm and harsh criminal penalties - since after all only evil things should be criminal.

Work continues on apace. I'm involved in pretty much everything we're doing at this particular point, and people are starting to realize that it's going to realllly challenging for me to get it all done. I will, but its going to be draining.

I realized that as part of my personal desire for unhappiness, I was letting myself be happy in relationships. When I have someone's critical eye upon me loving me... I feel free to be myself purely. But again, since I realized what I was doing, its been a lot easier for me to relax and enjoy life. I feel a lot better already.

(RealAudio does charge money for their ‘real’ RealPlayer Plus. Does this make the other one RealPlayer Minus?)


Heh heh.

At the bar, I talked with another woman. She had a grin made of completely regular small teeth. She wore red. We leaned our heards together and conferred with that instantaneous, deft, confiding frankness of dynamic women just meeting in a debased world full of problematic romantic partners all problematic in roughly identical ways...

-Jane Shapiro, The Dangerous Husband

Interesting turn of events last night. Anne went out to a Halloween party wearing what more or less amounts to sexy clothes (skirt and garters most prominently), flirted heavily with a guy, and let him kiss her on her neck on the dance floor.

Ouch, I say, ouch. I'm really glad she has that uninhibited side, but I always feel a little ... cheated when stuff like this occurs. I seem to be the guy that helps women get in touch with their sexuality, but never the beneficiary. This makes me most unhappy. Anne is yet another classic example of a woman who reportedly finds me adorable and a potential Mr. Rightish, but ... gah. I'm happy for her that she felt that comfortable, but at the same time I'm sickened that the cycle repeats itself once again. Again, I guess the correct answer is that I simply need to make sure I'm not compromising what I want. But it's so hard. She doesn't like PDA, we don't do PDA. Oh, but now it's okay because... because? Why?

My poor teddy bears. I was laying on my bed and hurling them against my bookshelf while she and I were talking. Eventually I ran out of teddy bears, so I sulked while I thought to myself that I should have kept all of my teddy bears on my bed.

It's additionally a little painful with Anne because we're - I think - so close. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems that if we were on the same romantic page things could be fantastic between us. Maybe she has the same problem I had and doesn't want to be happy? Always possible.

Opposites can attract, as in magnetism. Or explode, as in matter and antimatter.

Peter David

Anyways, I think this really helped shut the door between us. No free admittance, Anne, not any more. If she wants to have something in the future she's going to have to meet my needs, because I would rather not date her than have her show me part of who is and only share the rest with others.

You've given me the best of you
And now I need the rest of you.

-Billy Joel, This is the Time

Yuck. It makes me feel sick. I can't understand. Why would you date someone for so long and not be comfortable with PDA with them yet with a random stranger it's okay? It's life, but it rankles and disgusts me. It's not even as if in the past I'd been trying to mack on her or, just hypothetically, kiss her neck on the dance floor. Yuck. I'd say apologies were in order but ... what's there to apologize for? It's her life, it's her body, they're her relationships. I feel short-changed and cheated. I feel like she wasn't ready for a relationship with me but had one because she could, because it was Good For Her, but when she started being more comfortable with physical intimacy, she turned to others. God that's evil.

And it hurts yet again in that old familar way that's so familar it has stopped being painful and more just a tingling sensation from where a feeling used to be. Oh: an ex finds herself physically unfettered after she dated me and now is reaching out to others? Did I put a little sign on my heart saying "KICK HERE PLEASE"? Because I'd like to remove it now if I may.

Love does not dominate; it cultivates.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

There's the stance that She Wasn't Good Enough For Me. But that's bullhonkie. The truth is she wasn't good enough *with* me, and I remain baffled and hurt by the fact that I seem to be unable to provoke the level of reciprocal sensual interest in some of the people I've cared most about.

The worst thing about the interchange is that I had called her for a reason. She's on the people that have been closest in the loop on my struggles with a former friend, and we'd finally made a peaceful resolve between the two of us. To me... I'm ecstatic. This is something that's mattered to me for a long long time, and I'm really glad the two of us were able to agree to put things behind us and move on.

I wanted to celebrate this ending of hostilities, celebrate a new beginning, dance a little and happiness... and then ... rain on my parade. Come on. What's going on here? I think we just don't understand each other. I guess I should have said my piece before we delved into the discussion of last night's party. Oh well.

So... my last lingering problem has been patched up, I'm allowing myself to be happy, and I'm as purely single as I've been in years. I feel good and ... confident.

I've been having various discussions with people around work, and it seems that they understand I do a lot, and that the people who matter value and want my opinion. I like that. I tend to think of myself as a hack, and am a little hesitant to poke my nose into other's business. I need to be firm in my opinion and beliefs... I'm paid to be the expert in my area - to be a Development Lead - and I've got make sure I'm Leading and not just writing good code.

I bought several hundred dollars worth of candy to give to all the little kiddie trick-or-treaters that came by Microsoft last night. I didn't jam my office chock-full of stuff if that's what you think. instead I went by every single developer's office in our group ensuring that *everyone* had candy to give out. Because the Windows Media dev teams rocks, and little kids should know that. I had lots and lots of fun doing this. I explained to Chadd that my vision was that 15 years from now we'll have an influx of sugar-buzzed employees as a direct result. :) Everyone was really glad I bought all the candy: most people are just too lazy to go out and get it themselves.

Lots of people brought their kids in. Sohail, his wife, and their kid Adeeb stopped by later in the day... by this time my (packaged) rice krispie treats had falled off the little plate I was giving them out on. Adeeb took one, held it up for me to look at for a long while. Sohail sez, "say thank you!", and then the little kid put the candy back on the plate. And Adeeb repeated this really slowly for every treat that fallen off the plate, until everything was all cleaned up. What a gorgeously cute little kid. Entertaining kids is sheer delight.

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