Friday, October 31, 2003

The economics of suicide

Why trying to kill yourself may be a smart business decision.

The end of the world as we know it

And I feel fine. (Shockwave flash)

Burn, burn, burn

Sheesh, a few days away from the web (and no television for years) and I start to miss out on things, like the part where California burns to the ground.

'Tis the season...

Church of Satan. Nuff said.


Visit Extreme Pumpkins for tips on how to keep the little sugar-frenzied hellions away from your house this Halloween.

Hail Pepys

It seems that 17th century politician and scientist Samuel Pepys is keeping a blog as well.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Perhaps 'jihad' is a little extreme?

It's become known as the Blogspot Jihad. The folks at 1&1 are offering a free three year hosting setup with 5GB monthly transfer, e-mail, FTP, PHP, Perl, MySQL, CGI, SSH, and Cron Jobs, and the folks at WizBang have volunteered to help people set up blogs using Movable Type. Early reports confirm that the 1&1 deal is remarkably free of small print, no strings attached.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Complete Text Search at Amazon

The folks at have just unveiled full text search of the contents of over 120,000 of the books they sell, instead of just searching on the titles/subjects/authors. Look here to see how it works.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Infinite regress

In 1996 in Bretany, France, Mark-Steffen Göwecke took a polaroid picture of sand and stones. Since then, he has taken 141 pictures that each contain the preceding polaroid, evolving a sort of infinite polaroid from his original picture.

Somebody hep me, I been heepmotized

I must have watched this flash animation for 20 minutes already... strangely compelling mindless entertainment.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

And the dragon comes in the niiiiiiiiggggggghhhhhhhhht

Strong Bad takes time out of his busy day to answer your emails.

God dammit: Elliott Smith dead at 34

Another bright light has faded. Thanks for the music, Elliott.

Here's the silhouette the face always turned away
the bleeding color gone to black, dying like a day
couldn't figure out what made you so unhappy
shook your head to say no no no
and stopped for a spell
and stayed that way
oh well, okay

Monday, October 20, 2003

More Flashy Goodness

This is one of the coolest Flash sites I've ever seen. If Myst had been done by Terry Gilliam, it would have been more like this. Start here and watch the mouse cursor... it changes to a hand when you're over something with which you can interact.

Drop zone

Have you ever needed to transfer a large file to someone, something too big to send by email? If you don't have a shell account or an FTP site, this can be difficult. The folks at Dropload let you upload files (up to 100 megs) for someone else to download, after which the files will be deleted. The files are also deleted if no one claims the files within 4 days.

You might not want to read this

Dealing with chronic pain has become a full-time occupation for me, but at least I'm not Joe Cidoni... today is the 10th anniversary of Joe's original post to the alt.tasteless newsgroup wherein he introduces us to Bob the Anal Fissure. Not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Errrr, wha?

I dunno what the hell it is, or why the hell it's there, but the Flash interface at Wefail is pretty intense.

War is hell

Ok, we kill them, they kill us, everybody kills everybody, forever and ever, world without end, amen. Turns out more and more of our 'non-combat' losses these days, however, are suicides. The US Army has revealed that suicides among US soldiers in Iraq are three times the usual rate.

One of the latest victims was buried in a Pennsylvania village on Monday. After calling home, Corey Small, 20, killed himself in front of other troops who were waiting to use the phone.

There are no official figures for GI suicides in Vietnam. But when the US pulled out in 1975 it had lost 60,000 troops and, according to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, 180,000 Vietnam veterans have since taken their own lives.

In Britain more than 260 Falklands veterans have committed suicide - more than those killed in the war.

Think about that when you're driving your SUV with the big American flag flying off the back, asshole.

An objective analysis

Who would make a better president? George W Bush or a box of Tic-Tacs?

How do we know we love Mother Russia?

Because Mother Russia tells us we love Mother Russia.

A recent spate of 'letters to the editor' from soldiers on the front lines in Iraq turns out to be a form letter that, in many cases, the purported authors didn't even know had been posted in their name. The letters, which heap praise upon the US military machine, appeared verbatim in 11 different newspapers, signed by 11 different people.

The part I don't understand (and this lack of understanding has been a major problem of mine for a long time) is how the assholes that are sending these letters can justify the deceit to themselves... isn't it a hollow victory if they convince people through lies?

So *that's* what they mean

Given the profuse numbers of cop and military shows on US television (this includes the nightly news, which is in my opinion the best fictional show out there), it's rather likely that you've seen shots of heavily rigged jarheads coordinating their actions with silent hand gestures. But chances are you didn't know what the gestures meant... so here is a handy guide to the SWAT Team Hand Signals.

May the Force be with you

This guy took his Star Wars obsession to a whole new level, building a 10 seat home theater fashioned after the movie. There's even a carbonite-frozen Han Solo in the hall.

All the Buttholes, all the time

The Butthole Surfers have unleashed Butthole Radio, 24-hour streaming MP3s of their live and rare music.

Bet you thought this post was going to be about Bush, dintcha?

You didn't hear it from me

It's getting harder and harder to tell the real news from the fake news:

Bush told his senior aides Tuesday that he "didn't want to see any stories"
quoting unnamed administration officials in the media anymore, and that if
he did, there would be consequences, said a senior administration official
who asked that his name not be used

Ixnay on the Ushbay

Molly Ivins points out current political ironies in Welcome to the Autumn Irony Festival.

All those folks who had conniption fits over Bill Clinton's affair are now pooh-poohing Arnold Schwarzenegger's sexual misconduct -- and vice versa.

The right-wingers who are always griping about Hollywood stars who express political opinions -- "Shut up and sing" -- suddenly find an actor perfectly fit for high political office based on his experience as The Terminator.

Professional patriots who would have been screaming with horror had the Clinton White House ever leaked the name of an undercover CIA agent now struggle to justify or minimize such a thing.

President Bush has spent $300 million trying to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and come up with zip, so now he wants to spend $600 million more. And let's mention the president's interesting theory that not finding any weapons of mass destruction means the Iraq war was fully justified. (Hello?)

Those silly Christians

In a battle of almost biblical proportions, the Archbishop of Canterbury (fucking hell, until I read the article it didn't even occur to me that there still was such a person... how simply archaic) has his panties in a bunch over the plans of the New Hampshire diocese to consecrate a gay man as a bishop. The result will most likely be a new split in the already almost-comically fractured Protestant creed.

I am trying to decide who said it better:

Emo Philips:

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. so I ran over and said "Stop! Don't do it!" "Why shouldn't I?" he said. I said, "Well, there's so much to live for!" He said, "Like what?" I said, "Well...are you religious or atheist?" He said, "Religious." I said, "Me too! Are you Christian or Buddhist?" He said, "Christian." I said, "Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?" He said, "Protestant." I said, "Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?" He said, "Baptist!" I said, "Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?" He said, "Baptist Church of God!" I said, "Me too! Are you original Baptist Church of God, or are you reformed Baptist Church of God?" He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God!" I said, "Me too! Are you reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1879, or reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?" He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915!"

I said, "Die, heretic scum", and pushed him off.

or Maynard James Keenan:

You're such an inspiration for the ways
That I'll never ever choose to be
Oh so many ways for me to show you
How the savior has abandoned you
Fuck your God
Your Lord and your Christ
He did this
Took all you had and
Left you this way
Still you pray, you never stray
Never taste of the fruit
You never thought to question why

It's not like you killed someone
It's not like you drove a hateful spear into his side
Praise the one who left you
Broken down and paralyzed
He did it all for you

It amazes me how most of the hate in the world seems to be generated by the 'God is Love' crowd.

Hail Britannia

Turns out the British don't like our dipshit president either.

Let's hope it works

"The spirit of US President George W Bush has been trapped in a clay pot and tossed into a river in northern Thailand after being cursed by hundreds of farmers protesting US agriculture policy."

Hail Caesar

I just stumbled upon the blog of Julius Caesar.

There were several smaller actions toward the end of the summer, but nothing worth troubling you with. As it stands now the winter draws to a close in this new year, the 704th since the founding of Rome. By the end of the year, if all goes well, I will be campaigning for Consul. If it goes badly - well, let's hope it doesn't go badly.

Particularly relevant, given that the empire I am enmired in is nearing its own decline.

Funny money

Check out John Hargrave's experiments with toll-booths and credit cards.

Shorter of Breath and One Day Closer to Death

Do you know what time it is?

The horror

More insight into the monumental shameful embarrassment that is pResident Bush.

... the man in the moon is not Charlie Chan

It's not like the *real* news is any more surreal than this.

Who do you want to bomb today?

The Iraqometer brings you the latest imperialist expansion statistics.

Friday, October 17, 2003


I just found out that back in 1992 Peter Gabriel founded a human-rights group called Witness that aims to use technology in the fight for justice. Gabriel had seen the effects the Rodney King video had on the trial... without that video the fascist bastards would have walked, like they usually do. The operative principle of Witness seems to be that Bad People can't get away with the shit they try to get away with if the Good People find out about it.

In this country we always assume that it's the Other Guys who do all the evil stuff... I often wonder how different the world would be if the average American had any fucking clue what their country does to maintain its position in the world.

Child's play

Electronic Gaming Monthly has a great article up where they show kids some of the early video games from the 70s and 80s and record their responses. It is understandable that kids raised on NES and Playstation and Xbox would be incredulous when shown Pong... it's almost like listening to anthropologists trying to determine the usefulness of some ancient artifact.

It's hard to believe the extent to which those primitive games captured our attention back then. But hell, anything to take our minds off of disco.

From the article:

Brian: What's this supposed to be?
EGM: Football. It's one of the first great portable games.
Brian: I thought it was Run Away From the Dots.
John: I don't see how this has anything remotely to do with football.
EGM: Which team are you playing?
Kirk: The red lines.
Tim: They could've just as easily called this game anything - Baseball, Bowling, Escape From the Monsters.
EGM: Did you score?
Kirk: I bumped into a dot.


Sad disclosure: when I first met Anne-Marie, I was addicted to Super Mario Brothers. I could play the whole game through to the end on one quarter, and when Anne-Marie wanted to find me she knew I would usually be glued to the game. She must have spent a hundred hours watching me play that damned game. It's amazing she stuck with me at all.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Spam spam spam spam spam eggs sausage and spam

I delete, on a daily basis, about one hundred spam emails. Now don't get me wrong, I appreciate the fact that there are legions of marketroids out there who are clearly very concerned about my penis size, my breast size, my mortgage rates, and my access to photos of 'hawt m0ms'; I'm touched, really, to know that so many entrepreneurs are thinking of me. But sometimes I just wish to read mail from my friends, and I have to wade through endless spam to find it. Even worse, there are times when the nature of a specific message isn't clear, and I have to open up an email to determine its contents.

Now I'm not doing anything foolish like using Outlook for an email client, or reading web-based mail with Internet Explorer, so I am relatively insulated from the worst of the virii and attachments that I receive each day. My mail client doesn't injudiciously run any code that comes along, and it also doesn't hide the true content of an email from me the way Outlook can. But while my computer is safe and free from infection, I find that I myself suffer from the viral memes that I am exposed to in the process of managing the spam. It has nothing to do with content; just the fact that so much of my time, attention, and energy are wasted on dealing with this issue gives me a sinking feeling... I already find but little joy in my dealings with the humans, and now I find that even from my sickbed I cannot avoid the worst of them. I have seen the world's digital face, and for the most part it isn't pretty.

Some bright folks have been bending their will toward the resolution of this problem. Paul Graham basically jumpstarted the whole discussion with A Plan For Spam, wherein he recommends Bayesian filtering as an effective technique for spam reduction. As I see it, there are two problems with this approach: first, the likelyhood of false positives is non-zero, so you still must dig through every mail to check the accuracy of the filter, and second, Bayesian filters work by analyzing the 'spaminess' of specific words and/or 'tokens' (a token can be a word, or it could be HTML code, or anything; for instance, the token '#FF0000', which represents the color red in HTML, is found more often in spam that is using colors to get your attention than it is in email from your friends), which can be easily gotten around by deliberately mangling the spelling of words in the email.

There's also been a lot of talk about challenge-response systems, wherein any email that doesn't come from a known and trusted source is held in check while a reply is sent back telling the sender how to get themselves added to the "I'm legitimate" list... while effective, this is pretty damn annoying and just triples the bandwidth required to send one email. One of the basic premises of this approach is that the large-scale economics of spam distribution dictate that spam senders can't be bothered to play this silly little game, so they never respond to the challenge email and after some preset time the server can just throw the email away without you ever seeing it, but as spam detection becomes more sophisticated, spammers continue to up the ante and it won't be long before this technique is rendered useless. It is also prone to errors... imagine if both people had the same system, bouncing challenge emails back and forth between the servers ad infinitum...

Blacklists are not useful, since spammers can camouflage themselves pretty effectively. Mail sent through open relays that do not require authentication can have zero truthful indentifying characteristics, if the sender so chooses.

Spam of the future will likely be bulletproof... filtering that is based on content can be sidestepped if there is no objectionable content, From: headers can be forged, and a simple "Hi- here is the link I told you about" email is too innocuous to set off any alarms.

It seems to me that one way to defeat spam is to attack it at the server level. If an email shows up for me and ten other people in my domain (usually in an alphabetic list), there is a higher likelihood of that email being spam than there is that all of us belong to the same mailing list. (I can effectively block about 30 percent of my spam by filtering out any mail that contains the name of the user who precedes me alphabetically). Blocking at the server level means that less time is wasted, less bandwidth is used, less frustration is generated. But it requires an unlikely commitment from all ISPs.

I would like to see a spam filter that has the following characteristics:

  • a whitelist, for known friends (always accept)
  • a simple blacklist (always reject)
  • two levels of filtering:

    • mail that is explicitly addressed to me in the To: or Cc: fields goes through one level of filtering
    • mail that is not explicitly addressed to me (could be a Bcc:) undergoes a more thorough filtering

  • most importantly: all components of the filter should be configurable with regular expressions and boolean logic

That last bit is key: many email clients have built-in filtering that is too dumbed down to be of any use against spam; these are more useful for moving emails into specific mailboxes than for critical examination of the validity of a message. A client (or even better, a server-side script working with procmail) that provided a logical framework for spam detection via tokens would be awesome... allowing us to make rules like [if (any recipient = me@my.server) and (any other recipient = someone_else@my.server who is not on my whitelist) then this is SPAM].

This, then, brings up the crux of the issue: each person should be free to define spam differently, according to their tastes, needs, and desires. Giving people the ability to filter based on their personal definition of spam would be the first step.

I guess I better get busy writing my own filter...

Monday, October 13, 2003

News, or Japanese B-Movie?

Alright, first I see that researchers at Duke University have implanted circuits into the brains of monkeys that allow them to control a robot arm with their thoughts. Then I see that Fujitsu came out with the new version of their HOAP humanoid robot, which is agile enough to execute complex martial arts moves... but Frederic Kaplan, from Sony's robotics laboratory, says making more agile robots is not the biggest challenge facing robotics researchers at the moment: "There are challenges in terms of mechanics still, but the biggest gap would be in intelligence".

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

That's right: this is the beginning of The End, where humanity will be wiped out by armies of sumo-wrestling robots controlled by monkeys. Planet of the Apes? Not fiction, but a prescient documentary.

But there's still hope... if we can convince the people of California to send Governor Schwarzenegger back in time to kill John Connor step up to the plate and take one for the team get your hands off me you damned dirty ape... hrmmm, nevermind, we are doomed after all.


Get your brain on

It looks like people are finally finding the internet to be useful for something other than porn distribution and file sharing...

The Public Library of Science is an effort to make the world's scientific and medical literature a public resource, taking the realm of scientific discourse away from the big-money ivory-tower world of scientific journals and putting it into the hands of anyone with a web browser. When I was an engineering student I found that it was exceedingly difficult to obtain details of the most recent research - if the university didn't carry the specific journal in which the information was published, there was no way to get the information. Just think how much effort is wasted reproducing the work of others simply because the information isn't publicly available... this was a problem in Newton's time, and it is more of a problem now, when intellectual property and hubris are deemed more important than the free flow of information.

The folks at MIT have become hip to this issue as well... just last month they unveiled MIT's OpenCourseWare, which placed the lectures, assignments, and exams of 500 courses online... some of the courses even have videos of the lectures. In time they intend to have all of MIT's courses be available online. These guys are so far ahead of the pack they have nothing to fear... contrast that with the petty empire-building profs I studied under at Oregon State University and Portland State University. Free up the knowledge!

On a smaller (but still noteworthy and quite interesting) scale, Neal Stephenson's MetaWeb strives to be a collaborative structure for learning, starting with a discussion of the ideas and eras explored in Stephenson's books and branching out from there to wherever the collective consciousness takes it. This is what the web was supposed to be in the first place... a tangle of interconnected ideas, a creative commons of knowledge.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Using your brain for fun and profit

Jonathon Keats filed for a copyright on his own brain, which he asserts is a sculpture whose structure has been shaped by his thought processes. He then decided to auction off his neurons on the open market. You can pick up ownership of a million neurons for just $10US... and if the creativity and intelligence he's showing just by doing this at all are any indication, it will be a hell of an investment: this guy's brain is going up up up.

Enoch Root

Those of you that have read Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon will be familiar with Enoch Root, who is either an integral character in the book or a deus-ex-machina plot band-aid depending on your point of view. There is clearly more to that character than meets the eye... he is extraordinarily long-lived, for one, and many of his exploits in the book give us more questions than they answer. It's possible that there is more than one Enoch Root (or people who assume the role of Enoch Root), and it is also possible that Stephenson is just messing with everyone's heads over this.

There's been a discussion going on about the possible interpretations of the ubiquitous Mr. Root, some of which are thought-provoking, and some of which are strangely devoid of rational forethought. Root is the one character that ties together all of the central themes of Cryptonomicon (encryption, gold, secret societies) and it looks like he fills the same role in Quicksilver (explicitly adding alchemy, which embodies within itself the other themes).

However it turns out, these books are great entertainment that has the added grace of introducing complex real-world ideas to the reader... I have at my side a cryptography textbook, Applied Cryptography by Bruce Schneier, which I started studying as a result of the the crypto I was exposed to in Cryptonomicon, as well as The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography, Crypto: How the Code Rebels Beat the Government Saving Privacy in the Digital Age, Enigma : The Battle for the Code, The Codebreakers: The Story of Secret Writing, and The Puzzle Palace: A Report on America's Most Secret Agency. Quicksilver promises to take up another couple of months of my time, delving as it does into the lives of Liebnitz, Hooke, Newton, and Wilkins.

I'm not too big on religion, but the Enoch Root story may have some leanings in that direction: the Book of Enoch chronicles the strangeness that occurs when angels assume the form of men. (If you don't know what the Book of Enoch is: it is part of the apocrypha, a number of books that were removed from the Bible by the Council of Laodicea, for political reasons, in 364AD). Enoch was Noah's grandfather, and in the extant bible Jude actually quotes Enoch as scripture... but by decree of a bunch of boring white guys this book, and about 30 others, were removed explicitly to keep people in line... not my interpretation, they actually stated that their purposes were to keep the people in line, keep women even more in line, and keep the Jews the hell away from the line.

Anyway, not since Illuminatus or Foucault's Pendulum have I found a book as engaging as this... hopefully I'll eventually figure out who the hell Enoch Root is, but in the meantime it is entertaining and educational reading.


In my last post, I mentioned something about Newton imposing his religious views on his science. This wasn't a rare or isolated event - scientists (or 'natural philosophers') felt they were uncovering the mind of 'God', and since they felt they already knew a lot about the mind of God, all that remained was to fit the scientific data into the religious framework. This happens in the present day as well... read up on the rapid acceptance of the Big Bang theory after the Vatican endorsed it as the scientific description of the creation of the world... the whole concept of peer review got thrown out the window since the data fit the religious framework so well.

Newton had some rather strong religious ideas, a belief in the necessary perfection of a universe that came into being through the actions of a necessarily perfect creator. Within the Judeo-Christian framework that Newton had to work with, there are some magic numbers, like '7', which represents perfection and fulfillment, via the creation myth. Newton wasted a lot of time trying to get the numerical components of his theories to fit in with the number 7... for instance, we might list the colors of the rainbow as

  • red
  • orange
  • yellow
  • green
  • blue
  • purple

but Newton (who first formulated the theory of optics that accounted for the way white light could be split into a rainbow) would have listed 7 colors:

  • red
  • orange
  • yellow
  • green
  • blue
  • purple
  • violet

Now why the hell would he do that? The other 6 colors make sense... look at a color wheel, for instance, and you find a color's complement directly across from it on the circle. With 7 colors, this gets thrown out of whack. But in Newton's religious framework, the number 6 represented something unfinished, incomplete. (And if a single number 6 is bad, why then three of them in a row must be very very bad). There was no way Newton was going to release a theory whose primary modes numbered 6... so he created a seventh color and threw it into the list.

He wasn't the only one - most natural philosophers behaved the same way. For instance: most people know the (fahrenheit) temperature at which water freezes (32F), but many do not know the temperature at which water boils. Fortunately, the ancients encoded one of their beliefs into the system: freezing and boiling are diametrically opposed ideas, therefore if the continuum of temperature was represented on a circle, they should be shown to be at opposite sides of the circle. Since there are 360 degrees in a circle, points that are diametrically opposite will be 180 degrees apart. The boiling temperature of water must therefore be 180 degrees from the freezing temperature, or 32 + 180 = 212 degrees.


Neal Stephenson's new book Quicksilver just came out... this is the first of three books (collectively called The Baroque Cycle) that explore the history behind the story told in his book Cryptonomicon, which is by far the best fiction I have ever read. Stephenson plans to release the whole trilogy within a year - the second book, The Confusion, comes out on 13 April 2004, and the final book The System of the World will be released on 21 September 2004.

Stephenson has been called a 'cyberpunk' author, but the direction he took in Cryptonomicon makes him more than that, I think. Instead of thinking about what the future will be like when we have cyberspace (in a real sense, not like what we have now, which is more of an advertispace), he examined the people and processes that led codes and computing to their current state, starting with the most obvious source, Alan Turing. Cryptonomicon details the experiences of the WWII effort to crack German and Japanese encryptions, which was astoundingly successful given the complexity of the problem.

In The Baroque Cycle, Stephenson follows the trail farther back, to the 17th century, when people like Hooke, Liebniz, and Newton were turning the world upside down in their search for 'truth', the primary identifying characteristic of which varied depending on the individual... for instance Newton, despite all of his incredible developments in math and science, focused a lot of his attentions on making his observations fit into his religious framework.

Quicksilver is tied into Cryptonomicon by more than just subject matter... following the tradition from the first book, The Baroque Cycle chronicles the lives of a few families throughout the passage of time: names like Waterhouse, Root, and Shaftoe keep popping up, tying the storyline together across the centuries.

If you've only read Snow Crash or The Diamond Age, pick up Cryptonomicon first, then dive into The Baroque Cycle. If you haven't read anything by Stephenson, what the fuck are you waiting for?

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Back from the dead, sorta

About 20 minutes after my last post, Joey dragged me to the emergency room at Anne-Marie's hospital. I spent the night getting numerous tests done with an IV in my arm. In the morning, they shot me over to the gastroenterologist, who knocked me out and put a camera down my throat... things don't look so good in there.

They still don't have any idea *what* is causing the problem, they just know these things: my spleen, which is supposed to look roughly like a pear, instead looks more like a human foot, about 3 times the size it should be. My stomach and intestines are pretty much constantly cramped, no obvious reason why, but they look like they are tearing themselves apart.

I came home last night and just crashed, got my first whole night of sleep in more than two weeks. Mmmmm.... sleep.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Old friends

I just got a call from Joseph, someone I thought I may never see again... seemed like, for awhile there, the drugs were using him rather than the other way around. The last time we saw each other was when I spent a couple of months getting him cleaned up, and then shipped his ass off to Utah for some breathing room, telling him that I needed him to get healthy so he could handle the ass-kicking I was going to give him.

We were warrior monks, back in the day. I think my current health problems are making me nostalgic for the 'good old days', or at least for the times I was young and healthy.

Dude, where's my country?

Michael Moore's new book came out today... not that it will change anything, it's just nice to know someone out there is paying attention.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

A year has passed...

...since I left my job; Friday 3 October was the first anniversary. Wow.

I had no choice but to leave... that job was killing me. Actually, I think that job is still killing me. I've spent about two-thirds of the past year in bed. My body is doing inexplicable things to itself, so I get to play Stump-the-Chump with every doctor I meet, which invariably results in some new drug (and therefore some combinatorially large number of new drug interactions) being added to the mix, without any actual long-term benefit. (Hell, often without any short term benefit). The only theory I can come up with is that alot of the problems are stress related, since the stresses I was under at Tek were clearly damaging and not sustainable.

Last night I almost ended up in the ER again... if I have problems again tonight I am just going to go right away, even though I am pretty cynical about the whole thing. They want me to have some clear isolated symptoms (do you have a fever?) or an obvious problem to fix (maybe I should arrange to get myself shot in the abdomen), these complex systemic problems defy the tendency of western medicine practitioners to put every little problem in its little box.

I am just somewhat uncomfortably passing the time...

Friday, October 03, 2003

Checking in

The last 5 or 6 days have been (no contest, really) the most pain-full days of my life. I've got some new and exciting dreadful thing going on inside me... I've seen a doctor about it already (no useful outcome) and come very close to going to the ER a couple of times. On a good day I can walk from here to the kitchen; mostly I am in too much pain to even use the laptop, which, if you know me, you know how fucking frustrating that must be.

Anne-Marie has been my safe harbor throughout this whole protracted process... and now it looks like I am dying anyway, and there isn't anything she can do to stop it, and she's having a tough time with that. She's been the most... well, just the most. I feel so rude or something for continuing to be sick when this beautiful woman is in my life.

Anyway, if you haven't heard from me lately, it doesn't mean I am not thinking of you.