Oh, hey, by the way. My pal Dave tells me his referrer logs show a lot of traffic coming from a comment he left on this very page. (In fact, right now, it seems to be his number one referral.)


So, just think of it: Leave me a little comment, and tah-dah, more traffic to your site!


Friends helping friends, that's what it's all about, Baby.

Boy, I am a dork. That was really trivial to implement. It seemed harder before.

My friend Michael made me cry. May we all find such compassion in our hearts.


(He also made me realize I have to get on the ball and implement that "permalink" thing correctly so that the link works after the post falls into archives. I'm such a dork.)

Woo Hoo! My apartment complex manager left a message for me yesterday saying she understood our situation and she would let us out of the lease without penalty. Yipee!


Mold-free Livin', here we come.

So... She didn't show up. I made an appointment with the manager of our apartment complex, to discuss being released from our lease, and she wasn't there. She wasn't even on-site. She'd been "called away" to do... marketing? at another rental property. So, I said to Gwen, the only person in the office, clearly not the one I had an appointment with, that perhaps she could help me. She said this was her third day on the job. Hm. Perhaps not.


I explained why I was there and that, no, I could not come back at 10 am tomorrow, I have a job; and I left the letter Jon and I had written, with a note to call me at work when she gets in. That is slated to be sometime late this afternoon.


This strengthens my resolve.

In what way does "Sharon" sound like "Susan"? I am constantly amazed at how many people make that error.

Ah, here we go. The Poltergeist snaps you into action from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds.


Yeah, it felt like that.

On a more upbeat note, Ben and Tosha took us to Fiesta Texas in San Antonio yesterday. We rode an incredible assortment of roller coasters. It was a marvelous day. Let's see...


I was about to say, "All coasters are steel, except where noted," except that they were *all* steel. Is the wooden coaster a thing of the past? That would be sad. But perhaps they just can't compete for the affections of today's thrill-a-minute audiences.


We started with the Boomerang, which pulls you backwards up the hill and then drops (back through the station), where you then zip off through a loop and an inverted turn and some other confusing things, until you climb up a hill that matches the initial one. And then... kwa-ping! Off you go, backwards through the whole thing again. Tee hee hee! Backwards was definitely better.


Next, we were disappointed by the Warner Brothers coaster, partly because we walked about a mile through the maze, built to accomodate crowds that would never be there again. It had the look and feel of a wooden coaster, yet it was steel. It just never managed to be particularly thrilling. There were some cute cartoon references scattered through the maze and along the coaster track, but, well, ho-hum. And then when we disembarked, we were funnelled through a Warner Brothers logo store. Tacky.


Not to worry, because (bum-ba-da-Daaah-dum) Superman was next! *repressed chortle of glee* This may well be one of my new favorite coasters. It's "floorless" (so, neither upright, nor suspended. Just chairs without floors.), and because I was wearing sandals, I had to ride barefoot. Woo hoo hoo! The loops and turns were wonderfully enhanced by the misty wind rushing between my toes. Somewhere through the track there was a corkscrew turn that caught me totally by surprise and elicited a real scream. Genius!


The order of events gets a little fuzzy for me here, but we went on the bumper cars, to Jon's great delight, and the carousel, at my request. And then we went on the Wave Swinger (Dorney Park name)/Die Fliedermaus (Fiesta Texas name), the big swing thingy. You know what I mean. Once again, I was "required" to ride barefoot. Oh, this was a true delight. I took off my hat, held my arms out to the sides, closed my eyes, and let my shoeless feet hang free in the wind. "I'm flying, Jack." Jon replied, "I still haven't seen that movie." Hmph, boys.


Then, with questionable wisdom, we had lunch. The less said, the better.


Ooh! Go Carts! Ah, but no sandals allowed--and this time, no bare feet, either. So Tosha and I sat and watched as our boys raced around the track. Very earnest, they were. Maybe this is the way to get Jon jazzed about learning to drive... (Better that than the bumper cars.)


Okay, so there's this huge pillar into the sky, this Masochist's Tower of Babel, where you can willingly get flung into the heavens and then unceremoniously dropped back out of them. And Tosha just had to go. And, therefore, so did I. Because it holds 12 people at a time and this was the first attraction that we actually had to wait for (it was after noon by now), I got to watch this so called "Scream" quite a few times. Folks sit on little chairs, their toes free in the breeze (moreso, for the sandal wearers), they get strapped in, and then Pow!, they're gone. Then they drop back down, seemingly in free fall, bounce back up like a bungee cord, get a few seconds to contemplate their fate at the top, and then Zing!, back towards the ground. Whooptee. But I wasn't going to be stopped by some irrational thing like fear. And, I got to take my shoes off again. Turns out, it was wonderful. I sat on the side away from the park, and I could see for miles--red, desert-y rocks, patches of greenery, flat land stretching away forever. And the drop really wasn't quite free-fall, so I didn't get that tingly feeling in my tummy. If the line weren't so long, I think I would have pushed to do it again, so I could get a different view.


Oooh, the Poltergeist. Now here is an impressive coaster. The train fills up in the station and then--kwa-ping, it's gone. No chain, no laborious climb up a hill, just instant speed. It was so surreal looking from the station. Even more so from the train. So we're fired out of the station like a rail gun and catapulted into a dense tangle of turns and loops. As the ride started to wind down, with momentum running out, we then start to go faster and faster, unbelievably so. The sense of speed was probably augmented by the fact that reason says we should have been slowing down. More swoops, more screams, and then, rest, and rolling into the station. Wild! We figure it must use electromagnets, which made Jon realize the pun in the name: A poltergeist throws things around without touching them. It is a masterpiece of technology.


Was that all? I think so. It was a very full day, and we all realized that we are, in fact, aging. We finished up with a funnel cake, for old times' sake. Then back to Ben and Tosha's for water, pasta, and recovery.

When I finally put my head back together after getting beaten up on a national scale, I then get beaten up on a local scale. We're planning to make a fight to be released from our apartment lease. The mold is terrible, and they let the residents below us move out. We visited another apartment complex, and we're just beside ourselves with longing. It's so nice. The apartment is big and dry. And they have a commitment to address all maintenance requests within 24 hours. Can you imagine? It makes it that much harder to stomach the current place.


On top of that, something is fishy with our package delivery. Jon's sister sent something addressed to our old apartment; we never got it, but "Jonathan Leistiko" signed for it on August 27th. So. UPS is crooked, the apartment complex is crooked, or the people in our old apartment are crooked. Once I get confirmation of details from UPS, I'm going to swing by the old place and then file a complaint with the police. Can you believe this crap? Makes me wonder how many of our other gifts have gone awry. My mother shipped Jon two packages over Christmas, while we were still living at the old apartment, and they never arrived either, despite UPS asserting that they had been delivered. The companies she'd ordered from were gracious enough to resend, but clearly that was not where the breakdown occurred. I'm so pissed off. Use DHL.


I also didn't win the Toastmasters Area Humorous Speech Contest. I came in second out of three. I'm so dejected. I really wanted this win. I got a second place at last year's contest, too.

Ah, dentistry.


Went to the dentist this morning, about four months overdue for my four-month cleaning. I got a deep gum cleaning *shudder* and a good scraping *goosebumps*. I also made a follow-up appointment for October 4th, to get impressions taken for a new bite guard, to protect my teeth from grinding at night. This dentition thing is, like, a full-time job.


So, the dentist appointment was at 9:00, so I figured I'd just go to it directly. I got into the office at 10:30 and got rounded up at 11 for a farewell luncheon for a co-worker. Back in the office at 1, full of tofu and cheesecake, punting around and feeling sleepy. But everything is nearly ready for my code deployment next Friday. Yay.


I'm telling you, we need nap rooms...

I am an American, and I am opposed to war.


Oh, Goddess, please oh please inspire our leaders to more successful, more fruitful, more just alternatives. Please guide them to show the world that we are not terrorists. Anymore. Please lead us to a course of action that does not include killing the innocent citizens of a nation to exact revenge on a group of radicals.


Please, no more terror.

Back in the groove. Making up for last week's inability to program, getting back on schedule. Also, made some headway on the project Dad asked me to do for his company. Woo woo.

What a fucking asshole.


"The Rev. Jerry Falwell said gays, feminists, 'pagans,' [sic] and a host of liberal advocacy groups have made 'God mad' and must share the blame for the terrorist attacks this week that took the lives of thousands of Americans at the World Trade Center in New York and at the Pentagon outside Washington." from the Washington Blade

Watch out for spam collecting donations. That would be the easiest scam in the book. Stick to reputable sources.

Happy update of reassuring news items:


My Uncle David is alive and well! He lives in California and travels back and forth to New York all the time. I finally found my aunt, his sister, online, and she gave me the reassuring news that she has talked to him.


My best friend Tameka has a brother who was at the Pentagon and stepped out to get something from his car at just the right moment, so he is fine, too.


And beloved Faith in New York is fine and has found all of her friends who still worked in the WTC, and they are fine.


To my knowledge, no one I know was harmed.

I just had a very illuminating conversation. It turns out that the irritating guy listening to music without headphones... is using headphones. He just has it *that* loud. Yikes.


Time Bandits was good. The DVD has commentary from Terry Gilliam, which I hope to listen to tonight. ^_^

My e-friend Michael over at Agent9 shares a nice sentiment: There are so many heroes.


Surely you've heard about the request to wear red, white, and blue tomorrow. I like it. When I got the (first) email about it, I was struck by a great idea that I'm going home to paint on a t-shirt tonight: A sunrise, with the horizon washed in red, white, and blue (so that the sun is rising over the flag), with the text, "It is darkest before the dawn."

And now, after a day of using Blogger to keep me sane(ish), I'm heading home. A coworker has lent me Time Bandits. Should be a good evening.

I. Got. Stuff. Done.


Programming stuff, even. Put the headphones on, loaded about 50 mp3s into Sonique, hit Shuffle a few times and then Play, and programmed. Whee.

Oh, gee. My goofy friend Fred doesn't tell me these sweet things about being at my wedding. No, he tucks them on a weblog with no links to it, and I stumble upon it, trying to find some scrap of his writing on his site by sifting through site index listings. Perhaps this is like opening someone's medicine cabinet, but I want to share. He talks about all his difficulties in getting there, and then says:


Because none of that matters. I got to see Sharon and Jon, who I haven't seen in over a year, and I got to join them on one of the most important days of their lives. That's worth a trip from anywhere. It's certainly worth a little awkwardness.

"..."


So, Fred, polish up that blog and get it ready for public consumption. At least, if you put an "index.html" file on unreality.net, I won't be able to peruse your directory structure unsupervised. And why should you write a blog? (Tell Claire she's a dork.) Well, I write to (1) keep my hand in, keep writing; (2) efficiently tell my friends how I am; and (3) say all the things to my annoying coworkers that I'm not comfortable saying out loud. Heh, you could have a Kuoblog, along the lines of "can you believe these guys are for real?"


But I was looking for stuff on your site because I miss you.

I noticed one thing last night, listening to Bush on the TV and the other patrons of Wal-Mart standing around me, glued to the bank of televisions in the electronics section: You can't break our spirit. At least, not by overtly attacking and hurting us.


That just pisses us off.

A lot of people are wearing their Dell I/T shirts today. I think it is an unconscious expression of community and solidarity. On the day when the first layoffs were going to be announced, a lot of people wore their I/T shirts then, too. It's comforting to belong to a group right now.

A satallite photo.

...Why does this guy even have external speakers?


Am I becoming a misanthrope?


No, I think my patience is just short right now. And I really need quiet. There is too much noise in my head already.


If I were to just log out of Blogger, I might get something done.


Oh, good. He's drumming on his desk now.

Oh, someone reminded me that I'd left the Disgruntled Toastmaster Lady item unresolved. That would be because she has. She never responded to me. She also didn't show up at our meeting yesterday, but yesterday was a little weird.


Hush, hush, hush. Stop talking about Yesterday! I'm trying to write programs. Do your jobs, be quiet. Man, people are driving me nuts. I want an office with a door!

How do you deal with a sociopathic cubicle neighbor?


Put on headphones and quit whistling, you jerk!

Yes, this is the snorker. He also turns on his monitor every morning and causes mine to make a Gaussian jump. Yeesh.

A great group keening is what I need. We had one at the end of the Starwood pagan festival (I assume they do it every year), just a raising of voices expressing sorrow at leaving. It is a horrific sound, but it is very healing.


Americans are uptight about sorrowful sounds. I doubt I could get much support for the idea outside of a pagan or Unitarian Universalist gathering.

I'm thinking back to events on Monday evening and how easily we laughed. The memory seems strange, like, surely we weren't laughing so easily, in light of what's happened. But, of course, it hadn't happened yet. My current feelings are casting a pall over the memories.


I want all the moping to be over with, but it seems like laughter would be inappropriate, seen as belittling our situation.


I'm craving some kind of communal love-in. I wish we'd gone to the church last night. Maybe there's something going on tonight.

Oh, god. It's 7:52, and my coworkers are talking about it again. Sit down, be quiet, quit speculating, and let me concentrate.


I'm distressed by the frequent use of the word "evil." There are few things born of this world that are really evil. In fact, I'm not sure I particularly believe in evil (it also requires a belief in absolute good). This act was devastating, malevolent, desperate, and cruel. But evil? No, I don't think so. The participants were motivated by strong beliefs that differ significantly from our own that they did not believe they could express adequately in any other way. We've done similarly.

A morning when the news on your car radio makes you cry.


But I'm also thinking about those of us not directly affected, the rest of America, and I'm getting increasingly concerned. These times of crisis always seem to mean infingements on liberties, restrictions put into place "temporarily" that never get lifted. These events are another toe-hold for the Federal government.


I freely admit that NPR only talks to flaming liberals, but many of the people interviewed said they feared our government would make some sort of retaliatory strike and get us into a retribution war that makes more sense in street gangs or the mob. If so many people are opposed to this, why do we have to fear it? Don't we have a say in our government?


No, not really, apparently.


You heard George make his threats last night, essentially declaring war. Just as soon as we can figure out whom to fight.


Geez, what if it were perpetrated by Americans? Other than the fact that they were suicide missions, do we really have any evidence that these attacks came from outside? (One news station pointed out that most of our security is based on the assumption that the perpetrator will be trying not to get himself killed. We're vulnerable, obviously, to suicide missions.)


I feel really helpless when contemplating terrorist attacks. You can't concede, or they'll just hit you again. You can't really fight back unless you can destroy every disgruntled individual. You can't even really defend against the possibility of attack while still maintaining any freedoms for your own citizenry. For internal attacks, the only successful way to prevent them is to address the issue that causes such desperate dissatisfaction. When the attack is external, how do you address it? How do you apologize for simply being something they hate? And why should you.


And may I just point out, once again, that Fox News is reprehensible? They showed the same footage—on a loop, even—and reported the same lack of information all day. You know, you're not supposed to just read the AP wire stories. NPR, on the other hand, got out on the street and talked to people. They made the human horror of this event much more real.


I continue to notice how the Pentagon is kind of an afterthought on these news reports. Perhaps because the volume of people killed at the World Trade Center is just such an undigestible number. Perhaps also, though, because the people at the WTC are seen as innocents, while the Pentagon is seen as Government. Let's not forget that people who just go to their jobs every day make up our government. Let's also not forget the people who crashed in Pennsylvania; while the plane didn't crash into anything nationally significant, it still had passengers and crew. I'm looking forward to the recovery of the cockpit recorder from that plane; I suspect a hero will emerge, someone who prevented the plane from reaching its target.


I'm going to try and finish up my project at work today. Dad has also commissioned me for a neat project, and I look forward to spending the next few evenings putting that together. Headphones are essential today.


And my love to all of you, my friends. If nothing else, feel free to leave a little comment here on this post (click on the spiders). Mousekateer Role Call, if you will.

Now, may I move the news a bit more local? Our Toastmasters club contest last night, about which I was so worried, went swimmingly. All the competitors performed very well, and the site was nice, and we had lots of audience members. It was really great. And, I won the humorous speech contest. Now, since Jon won his club's contest, if we both win at our respective Area-level contests, we will go head-to-head at the Division. I can't wait.


My manager said I can go home, and I really think I might. When he walked up to my desk to say he might reschedule our afternoon meeting, I was in the process of looking at photos and crying. So he suggested I go home. I really want to finish up this project, but I'm obviously not working on it, right? Dang, I wish I had a laptop. I put in a request yesterday. Yeesh, I'm not even being coherent here. I should go home.

Oh, shoot. I just remembered what the other announcement I wanted to make at the Toastmasters meeting was: A moment of silence for those trapped in all of this mess.


Dagnabbit.

There are some days when there is simply too much to report on.


The only thing I can grasp onto right now is: The Twin Towers are gone. Throughout my school years, we took many class trips to New York, and the first, most recognizable landmark, signalling that we were finally almost there, is the Twin Towers.


And they're gone.


I'm staggered by how many people have died, and I'm frightened of what this might be the beginning of. If nothing else, it'll be a lot tougher to get through airport security. ...See? I can't really face this. But, using Blogger, some folks have put together a site of breaking news, photos, and personal prayers.


I'm intellectualizing, I know, but this is interesting to me. I am impressed by the planning and the effectiveness of this attack. The coordinated plane hijackings took real planning. And, while the Pentagon was also attacked, note how much coverage that is getting, compared with the World Trade Center. The latter is a very effective attack on our morale. I'm horrified, but I'm intrigued. I think I would like it very much in a novel. I just wish it could be fiction.

Ah-ha. Reblogger lost its old hosting location, hence the errors on the page and in the commenting system. Jesse has found a new one, so we're back in business.

I was getting dressed this morning, trying to make as little noise and light as possible, and I noticed that Jon was smiling at me. His eyes were just barely open, and his brain was ever so slightly awake, and he was just smiling at me.


So I have now decided that being smiled at by the sleepy person you love is simply the best way to start a day.

I love my text editor even more. Select a chunk, hit Shift+tab, and it scoots it out one level.


So, what a disconcerting state of affairs. If Reblogger is down, my blog is offline. Gotta get my own PHP-powered commenting system going.


Humorous Speech contest tonight, with Toastmasters. I'm competing, but I'm more nervous about the logistics of the contest, since I'm the club President. No real responsibility, but all of the blame. Sigh.


Code for my project at work is working! This morning, when you edited an item and clicked Save, it cheerfully deleted the item. Then, when you edited this other thing over here, my code very helpfully deleted everything on the page! I've fixed that now. I am much relieved.


I have an unpleasant lump on my finger. I think it's a spider bite. The area is all red (right on my cuticle. Yow!) and puffed up. And boy, does it itch!


What? No, I'm not going to tell you what my humorous speech topic is. Espionage, and all that. I'll tell you tomorrow.


Oh, shoot! We'd meant to borrow Time Bandits from Ben before leaving yesterday. I just have a hankering to see it again. Jon's only seen it once and doesn't get my references, so we *have* to remedy that.

Ohmygoodness, I love my text editor. I just discovered that clever little UltraEdit will indent an entire chunk of code if you highlight it and press the tab key. See, you use levels of indentation to keep the hierarchy of your code straight, and if you want to move this piece from here to there, you'll probably have to go along and put a tab in front of every line, to scoot it in to where it's supposed to be. But not with UltraEdit! Select the piece, press the tab key, and viola: Indentation.


I am so happy.

Oh, man, I amuse me. I drew up a little cartoon, which I may scan and post later, but you don't need the cartoon to get the gist of it. But first, a little explanation.


This came about from wasting too much time reading cartoons on the Perspicuity Review. One depicts The Trepanator; in his explanation of the cartoon, Craig explains that trepanation is the cutting of holes in the skull for medicinal reasons, and then he links to a book exerpt about modern-day trepanners. Do-it-yerselfers, in fact.


Hence:

Unlikely titles from Klutz Press...

D.I.Y. Trepanation Kit!

I did it, I did it, I did it! I fixed my broken code that has been plaguing me since Friday. I had a moment of insight in the locker room this morning after T'ai Chi. The insight was right, but I implemented it wrong this morning, so I thought I hadn't solved it. Looking over the flowchart I made this weekend, I saw where I'd goofed. Tweak here and there... and Kwa-Pow, it works! Whoopee.

What an empowering weekend!


A little bit ago, after a longer than expected search, I got a copy of Klutz Press's Body Book. It's recipes for facial scrubs, hand moisturizers, foot soaks, bath salts, and so on. And on Thursday I finally got some of the ingredients I need: a coffee bean grinder (that will never be used for coffee beans, since those overpower other things you would grind), oatmeal, and mint tea. So yesterday evening, I gave myself a complete facial. I started with an oatmeal, yogurt, and lemon juice scrub (drippy gooey fun!); then had a ten-minute peppermint steam (tea bags in a bowl of hot water, face over the bowl, towel over your head, making a tent to catch the steam); followed that with an oatmeal and honey mask (eww, but lying on the floor and breathing for fifteen minutes was well worth it); and finished off with a toner made of witch hazel and peppermint essential oil. Pink and smooth and clean!


Amidst all of that, I've read about a third of the Cunt book. It is fantastic. I keep getting all pissed off and riled up, but she addresses a lot of the things I've been concerned about—birth control pills are poison, feminine "hygeine" products line the pockets of men who don't think of me as a goddess, and, while PMS is real, it doesn't have to rule my life—and gives some solutions and alternatives. Condoms plus a rigorous understanding of your body, your cycle, your changing fluids, and the appearance of your cervix equal birth control, empowering reproductive control. Girls and boys should read this book.


And it just makes me love Jon more, because he does respect me and revere me as a woman and encourage me to grow and develop and stretch my independence.