I should address the fact that it is Autumn. I have spent more Autumns outside of the country in which I was born than inside of it. Autumn is the season of my date of birth. Autumn has always been filled to the brim with joy and sorrow. Autumn is here and I'm dreading the sorrow that will undoubtedly come. Last year I spent Autumn basking in Spring, and that did not succeed in keeping sorrow at bay.

Lord, protect me.


I've kinda fallen off the blogging wagon. I'm sorry. I'll see what I can do about that.


Saying what you mean and meaning what you say.

To say something, anything, costs little. It can be as easy as a lie. But it is so much more complicated than considering what the "truth" is and what the words were. It isn't an easy subtraction where the ideal is that they are equal.
Woman: Does this make me look fat?
Man: No.

What is the truth? Is there a lie?

Is there truth? It's a complicated situation. The woman's question might not be only what it specifically asks. The man's answer might only answer the question he perceived that she was really asking. Or he might just be answering by reflex.

The problem is that we cannot tap into reality through our words with 100% fidelity.

Consider the words: "I love you." Do the words cause the reality or does the reality cause the words? The real answer is that neither is the case. It is possible to love with those words. One could say the words in the desperate hope that they are true. One could straight up lie about it. One could love but feel incapable of saying the words.

Sometimes it's important to say the words. Sometimes it's important for the reality to be there. But the words and the reality do not have any connection whatsoever except in the mind of the speaker and of the listener.

We deal with this by cutting up the words. Love, love, luv, <3, heart, lurve, and l-bomb are not all the same thing. But only because we're talking about different things. What we talk about and what is about us are as different as schooling and education.

I need people to trust me, to trust in me, and to be trusted by me. I also need people to express trust and trustworthiness. I know that they are different and I listen for them differently.

I will try one more way of talking about this because it still feels so muddled.

I stand at bus stops and sometimes say, "Here's the bus!" Sometimes I say that and the bus is in front of me. Sometimes I say that and the bus is not. Sometimes I say that and the bus then pulls up. Sometimes I forget to say it and the bus arrives anyway. Sometimes I just need to hear that the bus has arrived. Sometimes I just need to get on the bus. Sometimes I need the reminder that the bus is here so that I can get on the bus.

Furthermore, sometimes I just walk around saying, "Here's the bus!"


Habari gani?

Salama tu. Mostly.

This guy tells an interesting story that I wasn't really aware of. I don't think it's particularly rampant but I'm glad I've read it.

Kiswahili is going very well. As tired as I was today, Kiswahili perked me up for the day. RLST is also very very good.

Scott Miller is someone I've recently discovered. I like it. It makes me think of those Ozark Mountain Daredevils.

Some lyrics:
Henry Streator owns this town
Parks on the sidewalk and he beats men down
His wife was pictured in a magazine
He brought her over from the Philippines
You can see her about five o’clock
On the hood of his car on the town sidewalk..

Well it starts in Minnesota as a tiny stream
Then its rolling like a river down in New Orleans
Sin in Indiana: It’s a powerful thing.

Chalmers Wolcott is the biggest liar
Drinks bottled water but can still breathe fire
Got half a finger but he’s twice as mean
As a Boilermaker on amphetamines
He’s a deacon down at the church
And there’s porn on the corn so there’ plenty of work.

Magnolia Hempstead could not stop
Eating popcorn when she was high on pot
She kept on chewing until her teeth were gone
The dentist made some out of cut limestone
You can always tell she’s been around
Because there’s tombstones growing where she spits in the ground

Also good:
Rise Against - Swing Life Away
Miike Snow - Animal
The Virgins - Rich Girls


One-Way Round Trip

So, this past weekend Dad drove up to give me a ride to Springfield. There, at 0921, I flew to Chicago. At the 604, I boarded a plane bound for Denver, Colorado. Waiting for me in Denver was a plane going to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. At 1604, in OKC, Mom and Gracie picked me up and we drove to Charleston, arriving at 2345 the next day.

That's about 1500 miles flying, 675 miles driving, and approx. 3 hours of a crying 13 mo. old.


School starts next week. I'm pretty stoked for it. Tomorrow I'm going to get my textbooks out of storage, get some school supplies, and begin planning my success. : )


Rustoleum dry erase paint is pretty cool. I bought one kit and painted the top 3 feet of 4 door surfaces and 2 2'x4' hard boards. This yields 49 square feet of dry erase surface. It's pretty good, but doesn't erase as well as I would like. However, the expo dry erase board cleaner does a great job of cleaning it. If I had it to do over, I would have primed the doors with something off-white and sanded them glass smooth. My plan is to screw the 2'x4's to the wall. One will hang horizontally and the other vertically. I'm very excited about all of this space as I have already filled my 3'x2' board.


zero sum

I'm registered for classes now. I'm taking Math 463, English 114, and Swahili 201. It's 12 credit hours and I feel very good about my course selections. Probability and Statistics will undoubtedly be the hardest class, but I have no choice but to do well in it. The Bible as Literature is taught by a professor I've had before, whom I liked, so I feel confident about it. Elementary Swahili is a class that I previously enrolled in, but didn't finish because I withdrew that semester. These classes should give my brain some well rounded exercise.

I did not get the WAL position.

Win some, lose some... right? Yes and no. I'm glad Allison got the position because now I don't have to deal with any feelings of guilt. After all, I have thought that she should have been a manager for the last 2 years. However, that does little to abate my feelings disappointment, crushed expectation, and failure.

But we couldn't both come out as winners. One must lose in order for the other to win. There is no stalemate, draw, or other outcome. Given that, I'm glad I lost. I cannot stomach winning at the expense of someone I care about in things that matter. True games are another matter.

Or maybe that's just my excuse for being better at true games than at the ones that matter...



  • Made it to the final four of the WAL interviews. That's good.

  • Went to a bachelor party in indi on saturday. That was off the hook. I cut someone's shoe in half.

  • I'll have my university bill paid in 24 hours. That will allow me to register for classes.

  • I bought a truck for $200 last week. It will be good for parts or as a project vehicle.

  • I've had some real and honest conversation with Allison. That has allowed me to feel safer and more secure.

  • I went to a strip club for the first time. Wow. Just wow.


John 8:32


Tomorrow is a day of action. Today was a day of rest.


so many irons in the fire... I barely know where to put my hopes. : )


Just a Taste

Oh, Howzit? I went up to Chicago for Fourth of July and/or Taste of Chicago and/or to visit Mike and Sara and/or to sight see Chi-Town. It was lots and lots of fun. Allison and I took the train up and Mike brought us to his new apartment via the L. [I like to call it el L; no one else likes this.] Their apartment is very nice. It has much character and lots of angles.

On the 4th it rained so we went to the Taste. Turns out the rain was a good thing as it kept the crowds and heat away. The food was quite good, if expensive. That night we attended a party held by M&S's landlord/downstairs neighbor. It really a lot of fun. I met new people and even met a former Peace Corps participant who lived in Moldova for 2 years! She was there 04 to 06, while I was there during the 97-98 school year. O! The Stories!

The 5th was M&S's last day to move out of storage, so they did that while Allison and I explored the City. It was fun to just walk around, talk, gawk, and see. We thought about doing the Sear's Tower, what with the new glass thingy, but lines were too long. Besides, we thought, it will still be there next time. Instead we toured Millennium Park and Navy Pier. All of the walking took its toll and we packed it in around 1830/1900. Seven or eight hours of walking, however. The day winded down with pizza from... some place I can't remember right now. [it was good... very good... like, I-want-some-right-now good...] Along with the pizza was Role Models and Knocked Up. Role Models was very funny, very good. Knocked Up was... eh. Personal issues aside, it was too jumpy plot-wise. It was also not funny enough to cover up the jumpiness and not sappy enough to explain the lack of humor.

We came home on the 6th, via Amtrak. There were no seats together, but there were four terribly behaved children with parents who slept rather than modified the behavior of their children. Oh well.

Work last night was the first with pigtails. ugh. I'll put up a picture later for those who have no idea what I'm talking about.

This weekend was very good. Allison and I talked a lot about our relationship, its future, our individual futures, our hopes, dreams, expectations.... all that crap. We both came away feeling better, I think... at least, I feel better. : )


it's hard not to like this game


Barbara Grace Murphy

I attended a baptism on Sunday. It was at a Lutheran church. The sermon featured Mark 5:22-43. The pastor had some interesting insights on it. For example, there is a theme of non-traditional Christian thought in the woman believing that touching that which is holy will make her holy. It is also present in the fact that Mark records the Aramaic that Jesus speaks when He heals the girl. The power of Christ is not in the hem of His garment or in the words He spoke. But Jesus doesn't really seem to care. He is more concerned with healing and whatnot to focus on correcting how they practice their religion. It was very refreshing to hear that message in a church.

Afterward, Allison and I went to the STL Science Center. I love the science center... like a lot. We watched Wild Ocean which is about the Wild Coast of South Africa. It was such a joy to see rondovals again. Watching the Omnimax and then coming home and seeing the stars just now reminded me of the absolute wonder I felt as I looked to the sky and saw no constellations that I recognized. Doing some research I found Orion. But in the Southern Hemisphere, Orion is upside-down. It may not seem like a big deal, but it completely floored me at the time.


Laura Dun Got Hitched!

So, Laura is now married. Now there is only Laura Pullen. That's weird. The wedding was very nice and very dry. Venues were tasteful and enjoyable. The music was very nice... very Laura. : ) Rachel sang. It was good to hear her sing again. She also gave a speech that was well done.

I had a lot of fun sitting with Cat, David, Lucy and some other people. Mike and Jeff were no shows. They had moving stuff to take care of.

It used to feel strange to be not married. I think that was because I had been preparing myself for it for so long. Now there isn't really any kind of feeling about it at all.

Luckily no one was able to tell that I had a head injury. It's healing quite well. The knot is much smaller than it was at the wedding. Still no real pain from the injury and no headaches. I'm quite lucky in that regard.


all w's

my retroactive withdrawal was approved. I now have a chance.


It's hot an muggy. I would just like to acknowledge that I've noticed.

Father's Day coming up, I got dad something cool. I hope he can use it.


w00t, shirts!

http://shirt.woot.com/Friends.aspx?k=8681 -- clever and cute
http://shirt.woot.com/Friends.aspx?k=8207 -- perfect for your next star party
http://shirt.woot.com/Friends.aspx?k=8978 -- someday we'll have to explain this to our kids


Work Area Leader. I just filled out a self-nomination form... We'll see if this becomes the initial debacle that the load coach program was....


Yay for texting my parents via email to give them directions to where I am.

Boo for my phone dying every couple of days.


Some Thought

This life is a hospital where every patient is possessed with the desire to change beds; one man would like to
suffer in front of the stove, and another believes that he would recover his health beside the window.
It always seems to me that I should feel well in the place where I am not -baudelaire

I read that somewhere. It seems so right, but there's something just off about it. I can't put my finger on it, but I don't feel like I'm never satisfied. It's more like I'm not yet satisfied. While that might be only a hair's breadth difference, it feels very important. Perhaps it's that I haven't given up yet. I know that I will be there someday. It isn't a goal that is always far away; I am not chasing the horizon. I am getting better. It would crush me to think that I might never recover. I don't want to think of this human affliction as incurable and only tolerable. Maybe my only difference is my defiant spirit. O! What a difference it is!


It doesn't feel like depression, but I feel like I'm in a low spot. Low on motivation I suppose.

There's an old thought experiment that goes like this: Supposing money was not an object, and you could do anything you wanted, what would you do? If you were retired, and comfortably living off of an investment, how would you spend your time? The answer is usually something like "pursue hobby X" or "travel to location Y" or even "live out vague, sometimes altruistic, dream Z." Then the experimenter twists it all to say, "then why aren't you doing those things now?"

It's related to the advice, "find a need, and fill it." Find your own need, and fill it. Thus you are happy. Then you have a goal. You want to be a world traveler? Why not go be a world traveler then?

Inspirational? Sometimes. Original? Hardly. Useful? Dubious.

It goes with pithy sayings like: "Just Do It," "Grab life by the horns," "Carpe Diem," "Live each day as if it is your last," and so on.

But they all seem out of touch with reality. One's potential in general is not strictly identical to one's potential at the moment. They offer the motivational energy of a refined sugar, quick kick but short ride with a crash at the end.

My point? No point, really. Just some bitching.


What's wrong with the credit industry?

They say it's a credit crunch that we're in... at least I think I heard someone say that... somewhere. However, the problem isn't that credit card companies don't trust consumers or that consumers don't trust the market. It isn't about failures of automakers, banks, or risky markets (sub-prime, I'm talking to you). It is that credit card companies have been fleecing customers for far too long and have finally weakened the market to such a degree that now everyone is in trouble, who isn't careful.

Take this example I got in the mail today:

It's from First Premier Bank. Never heard of them? Neither had I.

They say:
Dear Stephen Murphy,

Apply for your Platinum MasterCard card from First PREMIER Bank. Just use Confirmation #: 142 739 *** *** and visit www.60SecondPremier.com to get your credit response in 60 seconds.

Because we know that bad things happen to good people, First PREMIER Bank had created this card for those with less-than-perfect credit. So even if you've been turned down in the past, don't let that stop you.

Use your card anywhere MasterCard cards are accepted. And if you ever have questions, account access by phone is available 24/7. Plus, you will receive a credit to your account of 5% on all on-time payments for 12 months.

Wow, what a great deal! They even offer 9.9% APR on all purchases. They claim that this is one of the lowest rates available. Hmm, let's see what the initial disclosure says... 9.9% APR on purchases... goes up to 19.9% if I don't pay on time... fees include: $29 Account Set Up Fee, $95 Program Fee, $48 Annual Fee, $84 Monthly Servicing Fee (billed monthly), $25 fee every time they increase your credit limit, $3.95 Internet Access Fee... that sounds like a lot. The break down is this:

If you are approved, you get a minimum of $250 credit limit. Minus the fees put on the card before you use it... that's $71 dollars left. If you check your account online that's $67.05 of your $250 left... so they just spent $182.95 just to have the card. wow. That's 73% of your credit line used to get the card.

What's wrong with this picture? Who is this card marketed toward again? People with "less-than-perfect credit." They are the ones that need to be using up 73% of their available unsecured credit limit. This card would actually hurt their credit score, just by owning the card.

What a joke. It's hard to see how this kind of marketing is legal.

(btw, what does "first premier" mean? Can there be a second premier?)


Long Distance Call -- Phoenix

Where to go I had no idea
26.10 was the price to pay
A messed up kid with no ideals at all
I thought those 26.10 I shouldn't give'em away

I remember this young guy died and I took his part
He got far too many stitches on his pretty face
Long time to see but I always thought us two would be serious
I was looking around town, thinking the same as you.

I'm far gone but your long distance call
And your capital letters keep me asking for more

It's never been like that
It's never been like that

I'm far gone but your long distance call
And your capital letters keep me asking for more

Where to go I had no idea about it
Most of the people do, they're only doing just fine
I don't wanna stay in place no more, see
Ain't doing well well well, I am only doing just fine

long time no see, long time no say
Got little to tell, I don't say much but I might
Something always told me us two would be serious
I am looking around town, thinking the same as you

I'm far gone but your long distance call
And your capital letters keep me asking for more

It's never been like that
It's never been like that

I'm far gone but your long distance call
And your capital letters keep me asking for more

Long time no see... Long time no say...


Mike and Sara's Wedding

I've been gone for a while. I took a week off from work and inadvertently took a week off from the internet.

Mike and Sara's wedding was awesome. Decorations: awesome. Food: awesome. Drinks: awesome. People: awesome. Venue: awesome. Conversations: awesome. Weather: awesome. Am I missing anything? Well, just assume it was awesome as well.

The past week as given me a lot to think about and a lot of that will come out here. I have the posts future dated, so they should just pour out over the next week or so.


True or False?

What vexes man?
  • Money
  • Passion
  • Women
He is lucky who can settle one.


Re-entry into LAS

To quote:

May 19, 2009

Dear Stephen Murphy,

Your application for Fall 2009 re-entry to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has been reviewed and approved into Mathematics. We are pleased with your continuing interest in the University and hope that you will find this new opportunity to be both beneficial and productive. In order to ensure your progress in meeting degree requirements, the following conditions are made upon your re-entry:

1. You must elect and complete a minimum of 12 hours in the Fall 2009 term with a minimum GPA of 2.5
2. You must meet with a Mathematics academic advisor to select appropriate courses for Fall 2009 term
3. You must meet with an Admissions Records Officer in 270 Lincoln Hall to review degree requirements
4. You must meet with Cory Ohms or Dean Ramirez-Fernandez by August 28th, 2009 and by the 8th week of the Fall 2009 term

Your Expected Graduation Date (EGD) is: Spring 2010 . That is the final term for which you will be authorized to enroll for the purpose of completing requirements for a degree from this College.

the weekend

First off, it seems that I've been sleeping over 12 hours a day on average. I'm not sure if this is good or bad... but it feels good.

Secondly, I still don't like Suze Orman. So what if she called out some guy for saying that all women should be barefoot and pregnant. He said it in the early 80's and I'm pretty sure that he wasn't the only one thinking or saying it in the early 80's. Grow up.

Thirdly, I really like big lists of names so I can find the shortest and longest names. I gave up trying to find the longest graduate because the font wasn't monospace. But the shortest is a tie among a handful of 5 letter people (first and last). One person could have been 4 letters, but s/he included a middle name.

Lastly, I noticed that I happened to attend the following people's graduation:

(in the order of the program)
Julie K. Mahieu
Richard L. Neumann
Colleen Elizabeth Hussey
Frances S. Levy
Allison Harden (obviously, I was there to see her graduate)
Rachel A. Leddy
Meredith R. Wieck
Anna Kelner
Brett McGuire
Michael Heimbuch
Aditya Gupta
Aubrey Elaine Lutz

So, that's pretty cool. I wish them all great futures and whatnot.


Daniel Abong Ogwal
James S. Kyung
Anna Maria Puchalski
Ellora Sen-Gupta
Cheryl Krugel
Amanda Jane Moschel

all graduated, but they had the late ceremony...

So, congraduation to them, too.



I've noticed that I've been really focused on negativity lately. Lately meaning since the beginning of April, but it's been growing. I can point to a lot of sources of negativity, but I'd rather find a way out from under it. I'm hoping that taking out the stress of the petition will help and Truck is running better, but I want to solve the problem.

I've been asking God to show me what He wants for me. I've been trying to align my life with His will, but I don't feel like I have any strong clues. Just before I left for college, my mom asked me what I wanted my major to be. I told her that I didn't really know. She asked me if I felt any calling from God. I told her that I had not, but I'd prayed about it. She then asked what I liked. I replied that I liked math, science, technology, creating... But math was the one commonality I saw in everything I enjoyed. She said, "that is because it is your calling. God has been preparing for your life for His whole life." I really felt the truth of that. However, I'm wary of trying out a self-fulfilling prophecy of "if it is, then it's meant to be."

See, I thought that God wanted me to be with Rachel forever. I thought that I was with her because it was what He wanted. I also thought I was supposed to marry Rebecca. I thought it was what He wanted. What I'm beginning to see is that God wanted me to be where I was, but He obviously didn't want me to stay there. That being said, I have a hard time understanding what it is that He is trying to show me. I don't get it. I think it's important and that it's somehow related to my calling... but I'm not there yet.

Unfortunately, Dad prays that God will keep me in whatever situation in life I'm in at least long enough to learn what He has for me to learn. So, I'm likely to flounder for a while...

on a different note:

Try this out. The beginning is nice, but if you get bored with it, jump to 42:45 (that's about when track 11 starts) and listen there again. It's nice. I like it.


Maybe it's that time of year

I've always said that if I had my degree I'd still be doing what I'm doing. However, I don't really think that's true anymore. I'm in Champaign because I don't have my degree. That's the only reason.

By this time next year I will have plans to be somewhere else. Perhaps it will be back to South Africa to polish off a Master's Degree. Perhaps it will be the West Coast, for good.

The more I look at Illinois, the less I see for myself in the long run. True, I have many friends here. True, I will miss them. True, I'm terrified to leave, especially alone.

It's been a year since my engagement failed. What a year it has been. On that day, a year ago, I realized that I wasn't going to Oregon. And in the year since, I've been happiest when I was out West or in South Africa. My eyes are drawn to the ocean, always.

This must come with the caveat that a lot can happen in a year. I've learned this the hard way. Just remember that "[my life is] my disaster friend, not yours."


Rachel Leddy

Wow, I haven't seen that girl in... I know not how long. But I saw her today while I was driving home from AutoZone. Lincoln and Green, the site of many moments of my life. At 10:23 no less.

She's not someone I think about everyday, but when I do, I have a plethora of memories to choose from.

I've never had a partner for any board game that was as good as she was.

I'm glad I knew her, but I still regret the ways I treated her and that I ruined that friendship. I hope she's doing well and still sings.

In retrospect, she had the best handwriting of anyone I've known.

If you ever meet Rachel Leddy, consider yourself lucky... I do.



I wrote something profound, but the internet was not cooperating when I was ready to post it.

Here it is:

I've talked before about "right action at cusp." The problem I've had with it is that I keep trying to figure out what the right action is before the cusp so that I am prepared. I also try, at cusp, to figure out why an action is the right one.

These things fail. Beforehand, there are many theories about right action and many more that contradict each other. Thus, one line of thought bleeds into another line of thought and I end up with the idea that either action is right. But, this contradicts the principle of Right Action at Cusp. There is one action which is better than the others. There cannot be a tie. So, I'm left to either conclude that there is no such thing as Right Action at Cusp or that I need to keep looking.

However, I've found that I'm missing the point. AT CUSP. Not before. Right Action at Cusp is a question of Quality (cf Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance). Thus, it is not predicted by Classical thinking. Right Action is a question of the soul and of the moment.

This is why the in situ analysis fails. "Why is action X the Right Action and action Y is not, for this particular cusp?" This question has nearly no meaning. Right Action is Right Action because it is Right Action.

--Thanks, Professor Murphy, but where's the punchline?
Valentine Michael Smith does not stretch his time sense so that he can think about what Right Action is, he does this to allow Right Action to become a part of him.

Either you have Right Action at Cusp, or you do not. However, try. Keep trying.

Just remember that waiting is. Waiting is.


cinco de mayo eve

Truck hates me. I'm lost but I cannot afford professional help.

Today begins the training of Capt. Throughput.

I'm so hungry but I have no food left in the pantry.

Tonight, after work, I will write something profound.


not the fuel filter.

today begins a barrage of tests on the rest of the fuel system.

I just hope that it's not the fuel pump. That would require dropping the fuel tank... which is totally full and therefore very very very heavy.

I'm thinking it might be the fuel pressure regulator.


I've decided that Truck's problems are not, I repeat, not caused by the month of April as it is now May and the problem is still there. Also, it isn't caused by not swearing at Truck or by my failure to kick Truck several times. More updates as news warrants...


Truck, why have you forsaken me?

Here we go again.

Today, I got in Truck, started her up and drove to get fuel. About the time that I get on the main road, I notice that she misses a couple of times... I check the fuel gauge and she's not out, but she's low. The misses get worse and worse. I conclude that, contrary to the gauge, she's running out of fuel. However, she doesn't die until I get to a stop sign. Then I start her back up and she won't stay running. Restart while pumping gas and near WOT yields results but still runs like garbage. Roll into gas station, pushing the last 5 feet, and filled up. (13 gal)

Afterward, I start her and rev up... sounds like a lawnmower. Keep revving, hoping she'll get better... no dice.

Am able to limp home on WOT. Severe bogging followed by not-so-severe bogging all the way home.

Finally throws a code: misfire in cylinder 4. Pending code: Bank too lean.

So, I get that she's not firing on all cylinders. However, it seems to me that this could be plugs, fuel filter, fuel pump, an assortment of sensors, or a combination of the above.

Plugs replaced about a year ago and pump and strainer replaced in 04. The rest... I don't know.

My question, where to I start looking and what am I looking for?


Not my words

Find a cure.
Find a cure for my life.

Oh my God!
Oh you think I'm in control.

Oh my God!
Oh you think it's all for fun.

Pin a smile.
Pin a smile on my face.

Put a price.
Put a price on my soul.



With Truck done, I must concentrate on my petitions.

Most reassuring comment from the dean: "This University is in the business of awarding degrees... and you're very close to one."

In fact, I'm 10 to 16 credit hours away from one.

Why am I so scared of this process?


Truck. You still love me.
Truck. I still love you.
Truck. YOU WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Today is my half birthday. I'm 24.5 and that is in no way whatsoever depressing.


screw this... i'm just buying a new pair of shoes and walking everywhere.


different number of splines on the drive shaft input for consecutive years of Rangers... thank you Ford... thank you.
The joys of breaking bolts, torching bolts, kicking bolts, grinding bolts.

I should have the new drive shaft in today. If not... you won't find a happy version of me anywhere.



ah, the sweet sweet feel of cavy under my ass. How I missed her.

Oh, and FedEx decided to make me very very very angry today.


Truck becomes Cavy

Turns out that no one has this part. Options are now: Brand new drive shaft or used drive shaft. Dad's bringing up the Cavy so I'll have the transportation needed to pursue leads.

Ugh, at least she's manual transmission. Hopefully, I can get Truck sorted by Monday.



So, I've talked to the people I need to talk to in order to get the forms that I need so that I am able to petition for the opportunity to be re-admitted and potentially have last summer retroactively withdrawn.

It's a relief to know that the process is able to begin, but there is still much to do. Of course, as soon as I got this information and finished my meetings... Truck broke. It's the drive shaft carrier bearing... just like I thought it would be. However, I thought it would hold out a little longer than it did.

I got it all taken apart and put the new bearing from AutoZone on only to find that they gave me the wrong part. : ( I should have the new part in a couple of days... or so... but then I will still have to make sure that it is the correct part this time.

It's so frustrating. I just want Truck to work.

Oh... SA2010?


Non-digital == analog

Watch out, I'm about to talk about math.

[math talk]
Math is the study of structure. That is the only thing it ever talks about. There is not an inherent context for math. Thus, when I say that by studying math I am studying everything, I mean that I am studying everything with structure. I believe everything has structure. Thus, I believe I am studying everything. In the math of 2 + 1 = 3 I don't care what 1, 2, or 3 mean. It could be that 2/3 + 1/3 = 3/3 or two people plus one person is equal to three people. In the relationship math of 2 + 1 = 3... a couple plus another person equals trouble. It would then follow, in that particular logic, that 2 + 1 = 1 + 1 + 1, usually. This explains why threesomes nearly never work. When they do, they tend to be 1 + 1 + 1 = 1 + 1 + 1. (with the occasional 1 + 1 + 1 = 1 + 2)

The Arts are a study of context only. To say that "a rose is a rose by any other name" is not the same as saying "a turd is a turd by any other name." The math works, but the aroma is different.

The real power of math, however, is when you marry the two together. It might be a lot of fun to talk about Eulerian Cycles, but it's more interesting to talk about a street sweeper who doesn't want to sweep the same street twice.
[/math talk]

[The non-math recap: Math is about structure. Art is about context.]

So, this explains why I so thoroughly enjoy analogies and paradigms. They are my way of teasing out the structure from the context. I take something that is complicated and try to find a structure that operates in about the same way. Then I manipulate the structure and try to put the context back on. Then I try to find out if this new construct makes any sense. When it does, it's really exciting.

This explains some of the strange questions I ask. If someone said, "Women are like cars." I might ask, "So, if you stick something small from your pocket into the right place and twist... it turns them on?" That isn't really such a sexist statement. I am not manipulating the idea of Woman... I am manipulating the idea of Woman As Car. In fact, that question is working more from the car -> woman direction as opposed to the question: "Are periods then equivalent to oil changes?" That question goes woman -> car. But analogies always break down. That is because women may, in fact, be like cars... but they are not identical to cars. It might even be entertaining to say that a flat tire is like a broken heel, but I know that they aren't the same.

The benefit of analogies or paradigms like "women are like cars" is that it can make it easier for someone who is intimidated by the vastness of the topic "woman" to understand them better. Men who don't understand why a woman might be upset about a broken nail might understand better if they were told that it's like having a rock chip on your hood. Where trouble lurks is the place where you stop saying "like" and "similar to." When your girlfriend isn't feeling positive about her appearance and you suggest a hot shower... for two... then you deserve being slapped. It doesn't matter that you perceive that you car feels better after going through the car wash. When you cross the line between "Women are like cars" toward "Women are cars" and then to "Women are just cars" you will quickly be reminded of how wrong you are.

In the meantime, buy used. The resale value drops 60% as soon as you take her off the lot.


And so it goes

It goes something like this: Binge and Purge. I was tempted to talk about it using the analogy of Feast or Famine, but I like the imagery of gorging and then releasing. Massive input which leads to massive output. Intense introversion followed by uncontrollable extroversion. It isn't a paradigm on how the world works or what people do or anything so grandiose, it's just me.

I get moods. One mood might be super creativity another near obsessive cleaning. But they are always predicated by a period of building, stewing, binging. This explains not doing laundry for 2 months and then washing everything. But then I'm tired of the cleaning idea and the clothes don't get put away. Follow through has always been difficult for me.

Ebb and Flow. Every ebb will have its flow. I'm learning to try to keep my head above water during the ebb and ride the flow as far as possible.

I think this feature(?) has led to a lot of stress in my relationships and family life. My friends seem to have accepted it as "just Stephen" but those who are closer to me find it hard to live with the ebb and hard to keep up with the flow. If I ebb while you flow and vice versa, then there is strong potential for getting shit done. On the other hand, if you're done flowing and I'm still ebbing, it would feel like I'm not doing as much work. Nearly any phase shift other than 0 or 90 seems like it would cause problems. In fact, being out of phase at all could lead to difficulties.

I don't see any way for my cyclic behavior to work out unless I can bank enough to cover my downtime. It seems like I have not done that in the past and I can think of no way to take care of that for the future. Help me.


Please slow it down
there's a secret magic past world that you only notice when you're looking back at it
all I wanna do is turn around
I'm going down to sleep on the bottom of the ocean
because I couldn't let go when the water hit the setting sun
passing white daisies taking turns
close the door walk into the street
catching raindrops on your tongue

I have a new paradigm. Work tonight will distill it. After work I will serve it on the rocks.

next task

The vast majority (85%) of my clothes are clean... next task? folding/putting away...


er... uhmmm....

Let's suppose you have a problem.

You're hungry. Okay. Fine. Then the general solution is to end hunger. Let's make a list of possible solutions:

Stop being hungry.
Eat ___(specific food)___.
Pretend being hungry is something fun and continue it.
Pretend being hungry is some other problem and solve it.

Really though, we only solve being hungry by eating. Moreover, we tend to have a specific food in mind. But what if you're hungry and you cannot eat? Then you start to evaluate those other solutions. Simply being willful might work for a while. Death as a solution is only applicable for problems that are as permanent as death (in the objective sense... not from the subjective condition that the hungry person is in). The others are also fine for a while.

Wait... what is he going on about now? My idea is to talk about problems in general. A problem exists and accordingly there are solutions numbering more than one. A problem could be so important that it needs to be solved in any way possible. As such, any general solution will suffice. However, problems usually need to be compatible with a host of other restraints, constraints, concerns, and conditions. So, I'm hungry... but I can't afford Red Lobster. I don't have time for Ryan's. I am also cold. Snow makes parking difficult. Thus, Fazzolli's or Wendy's Chili seem to be ideal candidates. However, I'm on my way to work... so McDonald's it is.

As we move from a general solution to a specific one it becomes difficult to identify what the "best" solution is. What outcome are we trying to maximize? What outcomes are we trying to minimize? Which outcomes are we trying to balance? It is during this process that one could potentially just ignore the problem until it became so dire that any solution at all would suffice or only one solution is viable. Thus, if paralyzed by the multitude of solutions to my hunger problem, I wait until I get to work... I've left myself no option except the vending machines.

Accordingly, I am able to help my paralysis by knowing that the default solution will be the vending machines. Then I weigh the shortcomings of various solutions against the default. True, I've had McDonald's all week... but it's better than the vending machines. See how that is, in fact, progress?

I had another topic that I wanted to talk about. However, it required a bit of research. While researching, I found out that I was wrong. I expected to find corroboration and agreement... but it's not there to be found. My problem of needing to blog remained, so I took a stab at writing this instead of going to bed with nothing accomplished. This isn't what I wanted, but I am happier with it than with nothing. That doesn't mean that I prefer it above all solutions. It just means that it is the one I have chosen this time.

After having written this I will still ponder my broken idea. I will explore, destroy, and rebuild it. Later, when I am up to it and when it is strong enough for me... I will write about it. I know that it will be better when done right.

It's an idea that just needs more time. So, I will give it time.

Even now, at the end of this post, I have the urge to delete it all and write nothing.... to just wait for the better idea. But, why waste these words? They are not the ones I intended on writing, but... where is the sense in throwing them away?



good day... bad work

I'm so lucky that it's genocide when I walk through fields of clover.



get it? 20¢ = paradigm? Anyway, there is a paradigm that I want to talk about today. Nicky brought it up and it just seemed right. The idea goes like this: Women in relationships are always looking for it to progress forward. It isn't so much a measure of how far or how quickly, but it must move forward. Settling in a comfortable place is just as bad as moving backwards. They constantly seek to make the relationship closer and closer always moving towards a position of increased intimacy. Men on the other hand are pretty okay with stagnation so long as it is comfortable. They tend to move forward until they feel good and then hang out.

Throw in the necessary caveats and throw out some of those absolute words and I feel that it's a pretty close approximation of a lot of relationship dynamics.

But there is a problem. What happens when you don't want to go forward yet? What if you're not ready and you need to hang out for a while? What if you need to feel comfortable in order to move forward? What if the other party is ready to move on before you are? What if you find yourself committed to something that you don't feel as strongly about as the other party? What if you perceive them to be more committed than they actually are? What if you are not able to commit more deeply? What if you've reached the pinnacle of commitment? What if you've pushed for commitment and the other party has acquiesced in order to placate the push rather than for the purpose of deeper relations?

For all of the above: Then you're going to start having trouble. The more important question is: What do you do about it?

Ultimately, one must choose to stay or go. Just like the song: "if [you] go there will be trouble, if [you] stay it will be double." Why double? Well, problems come back. They are not always the same, but there will be another struggle. Such is the nature of relationships.

On the way to deciding whether or not to stay or go, one has plenty of options that will lead to more problems and hurt feelings. There are actually very few ways to avoid additional problems or hurt feelings. However, your best bet is to talk it out.

Suggested lines of conversation:
  • One's expectations in a relationship in general
  • One's expectations in this relationship in particular
  • One's own challenges in relationships in general
  • One's own challenges in this relationship in particular
  • One's own comfort level
  • One's perception of the other's comfort level
  • One's own commitment level
  • One's perception of the other's commitment level
and so on.

The rub is that real life is not linear or simple. Life is absolutely non-linear and quite chaotic. What you want today is not the same as what you want tomorrow. One's feelings towards another fluctuate yearly, monthly, daily, hourly, and so on.

However, whatever you feel that never goes away or fluctuates is real and true. That is what you must hold onto and give to the other person so that they may also hold onto it. From that you can build. It is your foundation.

Now, let's spin this entire construct about that point. Let's say that we are all men and that life is the woman. The relationship is our job or our home or what have you. The relationship is your purpose in life.

Grab onto that which does not move as the world spins. Do not let go. Then, you will find happiness. (Results not typical. Your mileage may vary.)



I did not realize that the Wii would take up so much of my time/life. However, I enjoy being immersed in another world. It's something that I miss from not reading fiction novels.

Thursday I clocked into work at 2pm... I clocked out at 6am. Yes, I did it. I switched for 4 consecutive sorts. Oh wait, I got coded over to local at the end? So that means that I switched Day, Twi, Mid, Sun, and Preload. Holy cow, that's 5. Five sorts. It was Pent-tastic. After work I took a (much) Much needed shower and drove to Chicago and back. So, driving from 2pm until 4pm the following day. 26 hours behind the wheel (minus appropriate breaks).

Now all I want to do is sleep and drink some whiskey.... and play Wii!!!!!!!!!!

In other news:

First-Mid hates me for spending money north of Paxton.
God saved me from dying while I was driving home.

In older news:



So, I bought a Wii. I was at Wal-Mart and there were 12 in stock. I've never seen them in stock before. So, I bought one. I was looking for something to buy with a portion of my tax refund... and it's a Wii. I'm in love. I spent 4 hours and 40 minutes playing with my Wii. Wii. and did I mention Wii?



Know Thy Self

I have little need for self-analysis as I do so much of it. However, there are parts of my Self that are difficult to get to. Sometimes I need to understand those parts so they can be put in the analysis machine. The best way I've found is to ask questions and see what my answers are. The best are ones that present a temporal juxtaposition of my life events and various versions of my Self. It doesn't really tell me much about how I used to be, but it can tell me about how I view myself as having been and it gets at what those events are about to me, now.

Example: Would the Stephen who was in Moldova do the highest bungy in world? No. He was not impulsive. He was crippled by his rationality and much too bound to the opinions of adults. Mom's unease would have stopped him cold. Yes, he did board a bus with people he hardly knew and traveled half-way across Moldova to visit a castle. But only because Mom was okay with it and it was the idea of an adult. Yes, he did ride a bus through Moldova all the way to the end of the bus line. But only because he thought the route was circular. His terror levels soared when he found that he had to get off the bus and didn't know enough Romanian to understand his situation or find a way out. He was resourceful enough to walk until he found something familiar... but he got lucky. He knew it. True, he stared down the treat of serious bodily harm during the robbery. But he had no choice. It was a real growth of his Self. He could not knowingly inflict such terror on his Self.

The fact that he was 13 is not relevant. The Self knows no age, only experience. And there is no way to gauge the experience level of a Self. I see my Self has having gone through mile stones that define the various versions it has passed through. Of course there are not discrete differences between one and another. In the way that I measure them, South Africa has put me into my 7th revision.

I can feel some of it calcifying, while other parts are still being broken down. But I'm starting to see trends. The Self-Help concept is a myth. One cannot just decide to be different. However, by noticing where the hard and soft spots are, one can mold. Try to change a solid aspect of your Self and you're in for a long struggle. Aim for a soft spot and there's a lot of potential.

Trying to change a hard spot? You need a big event to hammer it. Some tenderizer is in order. And it will not be pleasant. That's what makes it hard to change them. We do not want to hurt ourselves. Self-inflicted pain is possible only when it is unwitting or when it's masked as something other than pain. The tender spots are easy because we are causing pain during a healing. It is pain, but it's also investigation of a wound.

Now, to my point: Analyzing my Self is a process of healing. In the past I've had a fairly rough touch and I would poke at anything that hurt and hurt anything that didn't. I've discovered, over the last 11 years, how to restrict the prodding to places that I'm interested in healing. The wound metaphor is apropo because newly healed wounds can break open again and all healing takes time.

However, the me of yesterday lives on inside the me of today. It still has some good ideas about right action at cusp. Nothing is all bad. Nothing.



I just had the brief sensation of being my 12 yr old self looking at my life in disbelief and dismay.

On another note, I've gone back to Fairtilizer. Check out the music I'm checking out.

Oh, and my phone is broken. Not that it doesn't work... but the front display is shot along with the plastic that goes around/in front of it. And the camera doesn't function. I find it funny because I was initially worried about the duel function hinge... and it's the only part that hasn't even briefly given me trouble.

Truck's fuel economy has dropped down to the 16-18 mpg range. Bad news. I think there's a failed/failing bearing at fault. However, the suspect bearings require removal of the entire rear axle... Part costs seem to vary between $30 and $150 depending on what is wrong. Bugger.
week 3 is proving more difficult



I've been gone from South Africa for as long as I was there. It's time to talk about it again.

Going to South Africa was the easiest decision I have ever made. It was also one of the most painful. Words like hurt, damage, or trauma seem to put a dark cloud over the experience that it does not deserve. I previously likened it to surgery, but I've discovered what was broken, what was removed, and how that makes me a better person.

My first visit to SA was marked by philosophical and spiritual enlightenment. I dare say that it was an awakening. But this most recent visit was very much a personal struggle. The hurt of leaving, of staying gone, and of coming back... The attacks on all sides... The vulnerability of myself that I could not hide... The vulnerability of my Mother that I could not hide from... The helplessness of being so far away... It all worked together to completely shatter me.

I find that now I trust and depend upon others far less than I ever did. It used to be the case that I would struggle with ways to make up for the ways that others fell short of my expectations. I rationalized that my expectations were too high, so I must help them. I realize now that my expectations should never have been so high, or so hidden. How could anyone be the person I thought they were if they didn't know what kind of person I thought they were? Now, I set my expectations low, but my hopes high. Should someone fail to meet these lowered expectations, I tend to become very upset, but like a fire with too little fuel, it burns out quickly and I am reminded that I fail, too. They are human, as am I. My failures are not better than others simply because they're mine. I am not intrinsically better or more desirable. How could I be?

Now I find myself in a new situation. Before I experienced a crisis of ability. I had failed my first relationship. Then I moved to a crisis of faith. I did not know how to do as Churchill advised: If you're going through Hell... then keep going. Now I am experiencing a crisis of trust. Who can I trust?

In No Country For Old Men, Shigure asks: If the rules you followed brought you to this, then of what use were the rules?

I once told a friend of mine: Through the highs and lows, the ups and downs, think about what never changes. That is truth. Hold on to it as hard as you can because it's real.

Increasingly I am seeing my rules bent, broken, or obsolete. What is clear to me is that I am not the one in control. God as been trying to show me that for a very long time. I have given up trying to control. I have given up the black and white razor sharp deterministic worldview that used to paralyze me when it failed.

So, do not worry. Life is long and God is protecting us.

Oh, and I also learned that when given the opportunity to bungy from the the highest bungy in the world, do it. In fact, do it twice.


Oh, and I learned that neither 'pertainment' nor 'pertainent' are words (thanks Hillarious and B to the M)


today I ate nine bbq sandwiches. Thank you FedEx and thank you safety. I think I might pop. Or I might play an hour of Guitar Hero...


Truck got in a fight...

Today I pulled into a parking spot the wrong way. I backed up and corrected Truck. Upon opening the door, it made contact with the vehicle next to Truck. I look and see no damage so I begin to walk away. Turns out there was a man in the driver's seat who began yelling at me. He demanded to know what my problem was and said that we should look at the damage and "find out if I have insurance." Fine.

Man: You need to respect other people's property.
Samurphy: I'm sorry. I didn't see that you were in the car and I didn't see any damage.
M: Well, you drove in here like a bat out of Hell. You need to drive better.
S: Is this a critique of my overall driving, or are we talking about my door contacting your vehicle.
M: No, I'm just saying that you should show some respect.

*We arrive at the other side of his car and he observes 2 scratch marks on his fender that I did not cause.*

M: There, look at what you've done.
S: No, if we're checking to see, then let's check to see if I could have caused that damage.
M: Okay, fine.

*I unlock Truck and open the door. The door swings out to a position that is a good 2-3 inches in front of the damage.*

S: I did not cause that damage.
M: Well, open it while you're in the car. *trailing off* They sit differently with people inside.
S: Okay.

*I sit in Truck and open the door again... contacts at the same point.*

S: It did not touch there.
M: Then where is it.
S: There is no damage. It touched, but caused no damage.
M: You need to respect people's property. You can't just walk away.
S: Okay.

*I then walked away. He got in his car and left.*

I'm pretty sure that I managed to ruin his day by failing to inconvenience him. He more than likely went home and kicked his dog. Or wife.

I have a book

I'm reading again. It's a book about (US) American Folklore. I usually disdain reading about the USA because I'm tired of hearing about it. However, I feel like this book somehow ties in with Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I'll let you know. Right now, it seems like the author likes to use big words.


Double breathing

I've figured it out. I double breathe when my mind changes gears. It seems so obvious now.


dreams about being murdered


whatever im missing, i dont know where to look for it

i took a shower and i already feel like ive done too much today


want: http://popwatch.ew.com/popwatch/2009/02/monster-mash-up.html



dude. seriously. im just sayin'...


I've completed week one Days 1 and 2. It's kind of exciting.
nothing is quite as scary as seeing a friend in dire straits

nothing is quite as satisfying as making a bold statement about how you refuse to be treated at work

8 years ago I started my dating career. I wonder if I really learned anything.



Yay for mini projects.

Monday should be a good place to start.


So, I have this story that I'm writing. I started writing it a long time ago, but I found it again. I feel that it has real potential for being a story that I'll be proud of.

Most exciting about it:

It is not an allegory for anything.
It is not true.
It is not about me.
It is like a puzzle for my mind.


Teh Internets

Where would I be without stumble upon? Oh, right... asleep and happy.



- Available: Already Taken
- Age: About Twenty-Four
- Annoyance: Allspice (check the ingredients list... liars)
- Animal: Aardvark

- Beer: Bottled
- Birthday: Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Michael Jordan. Orwell Novel
- Best Friend: Beer
- Blind or Deaf: Both
- Best weather: Beach Or Blizzard
- Been in Love: Been In And Out
- Believe in Magic: Blasphemy
- Believe in Santa: Bah, Humbug

- Candy: Cadbury
- Color: Cut Grass
- Chocolate/Vanilla: Choc-illa
- Chinese/Mexican Food: Chinet
- Cake or pie: Cut A Slice Of Each
- Continent to visit: Collecting All Seven, Three Down
- Cheese: Cheddar

- Day or Night: Dark
- Dancing in the rain: Define Dancing

- Eyes: Eh
- Everyone's got: E. Coli
- Ever failed a class: Eleven

- First thoughts waking up: Food
- Food: Friendly

- Greatest Fear: Growing Old
- Goals: Getting Gone
- Gum: Green
- Get along with your parents: Get Real

- Hair Color: Hay
- Height: Half-Dime' Niner"
- Happy: Hardcore
- Holiday: Half-Birthday
- How do you want to die: How I Was Born, On Accident

- Ice Cream: In A Cone
- Instrument: iPod?

- Jewelry: Jewels
- Job: Jack-Of-All-Trades

- Kids: Keen
- Kickboxing or karate: Karate (the band)
- Keep a journal: Keep? I Give It Away

- Love: Lol
- Laughed so hard you cried: Love

- Milk flavor: Malted?
- Movies: Many
- Motion sickness: Motion Wellness
- McD’s or BK: My Way

- Number: Numerous, Primes Are Nice

- One wish: Only One? Okay, Accomplishment

- Pepsi/Coke: Pibb
- Perfect Pizza: Pepperoni... And Everything Else
- Piercings: Penis

- Quail: Quite

- Reality T.V.: Reality Vomiting
- Radio Station: Real Music
- Roll your tongue in a circle: Readily
- Ring size: Regulation

- Song: Sing One
- Shoe size: Shodden? Seldom.
- Salad dressing: Sudden Valley Ranch
- Sushi: So Spendy
- In the shower: Sometimes
- Strawberries/Blueberries: Snozberries

- Tattoos: Ten
- Time for bed: Ten Past 0500
- Thunderstorms: Thunderstruck

- Unpredictable: Universally

- Vacation spot(s): VA 32° South

- Weakness: Wanderlust
- Which one of your friends acts the most like you: Walter
- Worst feeling: Wanderlust
- Worst Weather: Winter

- X-Rays: X-citing

-Year it is now: Y2K9
-Yellow: Yet To Be Proven

- Zoo animal: Zebra


The Most Romantic Day

On the 12th I noticed that I was coming down with something or other. There was some sort of chest pain and coughing. On the 13th I slept for 12 hours minus however long it takes to eat 3 bowls of cereal. Work that night was miserable as I felt the chest pain much more and I also felt a good deal of muscle soreness. On the 14th I had a full blown fever along with complete weakness of all muscles and severe joint pain. I did muster up the strength to take a shower, but afterward I was exhausted. Allison came over to take care of me. Which means that she brought me water and watched tv while I slept. Or maybe she slept too. It's hard for me to remember. I think that we also went to get steak and shake. By the 15th, my fever was gone and I had enough energy to drive and teach driving. Sunday was a lot of fun. However, by the end of the day I was spent. I didn't go out like I had wanted to.

It wasn't the most romantic day or weekend, but it was very nice. It was calm. Sometimes calm is better than wine-dine-sixty-nine.

I'll try not to be sick next year.




Friday The Thirteenth

I feel like death. My brain is fried. I have nothing left in me because I gave it all away. Tmw is v-day, the start of spring training. I found a bottle of hydroxyzine but I can't remember what it's supposed to do. I think it makes your hands swell up to twice their normal size.

To quote a nickel: "Ocean in view! O! The joy!"



So, today we had SS1 down contingency on mid. It was awesome. I proved myself once again. The stories are inane outside of the context of work, but I they give me a strong sense of accomplishment and pride.


My Horoscope According To The Onion

Northerly winds will whisper the name of a former love in your ear, ruthlessly mocking you for having had a relationship with someone called "Ooooouuuuussssshhhhhh."


Such a Good Weekend

It was marvelous, really. We got mom out of the house. Had a Savoy day. I met a 14 year old girl named Rachel Anne. Watched Push. (don't pay full price to watch Push) I met her parents, she met mine. I partied with my facebook mom and met new people. I drove, aimlessly, around C-U listening to good music. It was good. All so very good. It felt very complete and wholesome. The only person I didn't see that I wanted to this weekend was Olivia. But I think she's dead anyway. And, the only person I saw this weekend that I didn't want to was.... no one.

Some great quotes

Lady filling up at the gas station: "Are you going to an 80's party?"
Me: "What?"
L: "Are you going to the 80's party?!"
M: "No, I just like to look good."
L: "Yeah you do!!"

Some Girl: "Your shirt is cool, they look like amoebas."

Rachel: "Paisley is a curtain."

Rachel: "I don't care what we do, I'm liquid!"

Me: "I don't care what we do, but I'm going to be liquid in about 15 minutes."

Allison: "You can't call my sister that!"

Joshua: "It's with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. They have a bad relationship and it takes the whole movie to make it painful."



Mocking the sodium lights
The man sneers above the trees
His skin is a craggy orange

I am also gibbous
Am I waxing? Yes
But I will wane
Before I am new

The moon rises
And sets daily
Feel the cycle


McSweeney's Time!

Teasers Actually
Found on Craigslist
That Would Make Even
Less Promising

Modesty Plates.

New Texting Acronyms
for the Elderly.

Endnotes, and
That Cost Me Marks
on My Thesis.


Oh math, you complete me. I only wish that my daily life would challenge me with original, relevant math problems more often. Being any higher at work would help as there are a multitude of numbers to play with at work. However, as it is I only get to play with little things. Last night: 109 down calls between twi and mid. Twi accounted for 62 of them. Last week there was a day that I was responsible for 117 down calls. One word: awesome.

Speaking of numbers, I have a little circle I need to sell.

Beka: moderate fuzzies.



I just found out that there is a verzion txting only plan. It's $35/mo. It's so tempting. I only talk about 100 min/month... but then it wouldn't be worth it, would it?



So, I didn't get my computer fixed, but I did fix my father's laptop... without total replacement.

In the last (checks calendar) 5 days a lot has happened. Let's start with Bar Stool Golf. I received a call at 10am from Bobbo. He said that he, Keller, and RJ were going to do some bar stool golf and they needed a fourth person. I figured that this was just an excuse to do some drinking on a Saturday morning. They said that we'd have a drink at a few bars and shoot some golf. I figured this was Golden Tee Golf (arcade style). So, sure, count me in.

Turns out that Bar Stool Golf is a serious drinking event that occurs annually. See link for related Danville Bar Stool Golf (same organization, different chapter) Link

It starts at 11am and score cards are to be turned in at 5pm. Thus, it is 6 hours of drinking in which a fair number of participants bring putters (aka, weapons). Fantastic. I quit golfing at 730pm with one fewer pairs of sunglasses but one additional putter. I only spent $20. I'm going to attend this event every year from here on out.

Kate and Allison were very understanding of me showing up at their apartment at 745-ish, drunk, and then passing out 45 minutes later. They knew about the event and felt sorry that I accidentally was a participant.

I awoke at, 11pm or so, and had every intention of going out, but stayed in instead.

The next morning we three went to Steak n Shake. I didn't know that they served breakfast. Very tasty.

Followed up Shake n Shake with some clearance shopping at circuit city, among other stores. I slept through the Super Bowl and today fixed a computer.

I am very happy. I am 100 percent sure that I have a girlfriend. Her name is Allison. If you see me smiling for no reason... well I do have a reason.





Uh, logic? Anyone?

Some panhandlers making $400 a day: police

The idea of this article is that some panhandlers are making serious bank by "aggressive" panhandling. Okay, that's fine. So they want to make a bylaw to make it easier to crack down on these offenders. That's also okay. However:

"This bylaw is aimed at that core group — hardcore professional panhandlers, people that make a living off this," Nowlan said.


Police are proposing a fine of $250, but have suggested the city look at options for people who can't afford to pay it.

equals wtf. If you motivate your argument by saying that the panhandlers aren't truly in need and then suggest that $250 is too much to fine them then, you're not using logic.

You can't have it both ways. Either they can't afford the $250 or they are making a living. Both cannot be true.


25 things (I hate these things)

1. I have not read every book I own, which is not in and of itself interesting. However, I silently berate myself for this failure everyday.

2. I am forever looking for the perfect key chain, pen, pad of paper, watch, and wallet. I have found nice stopping points on that search, but perfection is always out of reach.

3. I never learned phonics and I have a difficult time pronouncing new words or ones that I've only ever read.

4. I only ever throw away a note, scrap of paper with writing, or book with much psychological pain. These things are usually saved for long periods of time and I have boxes and boxes that contain such notes and scraps of paper.

5. I am slow at performing mental math, despite my love of math. I tend to get distracted by the processes of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

6. I am almost 80% sure that I have a girlfriend.

7. I once completely took apart my father's computer. Since I was unable to put it back together, he bought a new one.

8. I had more fun at my Sophomore prom than at the following four. This was because I knew that I had nothing to lose, no one else's feelings to consider, and I knew no one there. The others were far more stressful.

9. I would be happiest if I never had to sleep again or if I never had to wake up again.

10. I never seem to be able to spell necessary. (thank God for spell check)

11. I sweat a lot when I read books or watch good movies.

12. I operate 2 pornographic websites.

13. I used to want to be an inventor. I still want to be an inventor.

14. I contribute regularly to Wikipedia.

15. I once killed a mouse by holding it underwater.

16. I have fantasized about running away from home since the second grade. I still do.

17. I like odd numbers more than I like even numbers.

18. I think that stale Twizzlers are far superior to fresh ones.

19. I talk to myself constantly when I am driving alone. It is usually a string of word vomit and/or verbatim reenactments of conversations I have had.

20. I have had almost no sense of smell for the last 3 years.

21. I am proud, in retrospect, of every dime I ever spent on a woman.

22. I am not at all ticklish due to years of training myself not to be.

23. I find mirrors to be my least favorite flat surfaces. Windows are my second least favorite.

24. I have saved every conversation I have ever had on AOL Instant Messenger.

25. One fifth of these "facts" are lies.


Oh Onion, I love you...

Chipotle Employee Just Gave Guy In Front Of You More Rice

I am speechless.


If it's not with you
There is no thing that makes me wanna settle down
I thought it was a bad cough
But never knew how much illusions hide a torture
Lonesome & forsaken with no gratitude
Who's goin' to tell, devotion's not your problem
It's me against a wardrobe
Focused on the pain to see how we can get along
Doing things, getting better
I'll move on
The more I try the less I care about it
And if you don't see yourself in the mirror, forget what you did
The more I try the less I care about it
I'm giving up my conscience for another
The only one I want is you
Things I wouldn't do
Try to treat me like a friend, get another late call
I'll lose you for another
Cause you can't believe how much your pleasure is a factor
Writing down the logic of my solitude
As far as I'm concerned I'd like to leave it random
I'm acting like an orphan
Let me get to know you better to make me less attracted
Doing things, getting better
I'll move on
The more I try the less I care about it
And if you don't see yourself in the mirror, forget what you did
The more I try the less I care about it
I'm giving up my conscience for another
The only one I want is you
Parisians all gone
Words they're all gone
Let me tell you


human. normal.

I accidentally went to Charleston. I had to drive. I just had to. I used my time to wrap a warm blanket of memories around me. This is where I would normally go into a listing of fond memories, but I'm tired of that.

The memories are nice, but they are meaningless in their detail. The important part is the feeling they invoke in me.

Can I focus on the good more than the bad? Have I so rewritten my past that I will only have bitterness toward this place? Will Charleston always be a place I loathe coming back to? Maybe 3x.

However, coming here and feeling the warmth of those memories and then waking up to a cool blanket of snow makes me feel human. normal. That may not be the loftiest of goals, but I'm trying.


I hate things like this... but I like this one

So, if you click this... then it's true. If you don't... then it's not.



So, I've been listening to my 5 star playlist. It interests me because these are songs that various versions of myself have said that I like. This stuff goes all over the place. Examples:

Sleeping In - The Postal Service
Lowlife - They Shoot Horses Don't They
House Of Usher - Geggy Tah
Late - Ben Folds
Gotta Work - Amerie
Chaos - Mute Math
Son's Gonna Rise - Citizen Cope
The Hand That Feeds - NIN
Feelings - Offspring
Simple Man - Shinedown
That's Not My Name - The Ting Tings
Hem Of Your Garment - Cake
My Band - D12
Mammal Vs Reptiles - Caribou
River Red - Okkervil River
Fortress - Pinback
Red Bus Needs To Leave - DJ Shadow
With A Little Help From My Friends - The Beatles
Attractive Today - Motion City Soundtrack
Rebel Yell - Billy Idol

Those are the first 20 on shuffled 5 Star. What does it mean? I don't think it means anything. However, I remember what was going on in my life when I made each of those songs part of my "favorites."

I'll tag onto this post something I read somewhere:
Do you miss the birds? Do you miss the warmth? Do you miss the words we used to speak? We can leave the light on till the sun comes up if you want, we can leave the music on if it helps you fall asleep-
Secret freckles were no secret anymore. But I'm sure there are sunflowers growing from gutters somewhere. It's heart over logic, & that's all this is.


I made a tactical error at work. As a result my left hand is swollen and bruised.

This proves, once again, the important thing I tell other switchers: Do as I say, not as I do.

Man waiting for tools gets brick of marijuana


At FedEx we would call this a SWAK error. If someone gives us a wrong address, we try the best we can to figure out what the address should have been. It could be a simple problem of a label that says "Urbana, IL 61081" when it should have read "Urbana, IL 61801." However, I might have meant to send it to Sterling, IL and written Urbana on accident. It's hard to tell what someone meant when the information doesn't match up.

Sometimes it means that your shipment gets returned, other times it goes to the wrong person. I once ordered some textbooks online and received someone else's books. They, in turn received a third person's books. It was a problem with putting the wrong labels on the wrong boxes.

My point? This isn't a problem unique to UPS or any other shipping company. It was just human error.



This was sent my way. Mitchell tells me that it is entirely factual.


All Medicated Geniuses -- Pretty Girls Make Graves

This town has good hearts
Bad blood, emotional scars
Never gettin' to say what you really wanna say

We all lie so well


If misery loves company
Then it seems to swim so much more forcibly
In the song of other people's failures


How Interesting!

Tessa told me once that I was very interesting and that I have lots of interesting stories. She said that she was not interesting and that she had only boring stories.

I think that's a load of crap.

Maybe I know how to tell a story. Maybe I embellish a little here and there. Maybe I go places and do things that other have not. However, I've always thought that I didn't really have any crazy stories to tell. I've always done that action which seemed necessary at the time. That's how I got to Moldova. That's how I got robbed there. That's how I got to South Africa both times. That's how my relationships have been. I'm not really doing a lot of planning ahead. I'm not looking for the crazy story. I don't really try that hard. I feel pretty mediocre.

So, it comes down to this: either we're all mediocre or we're all interesting. I think that I'm mediocre, but nearly everyone I meet I find to be interesting. Which leads me to believe that I might be interesting as well. Thus, we are all interesting. However, it could be that I'm so mediocre that I find these other mediocre people interesting. Which would lead me to conclude that we're all mediocre. That seems unlikely. It is my belief that we are all interesting just as it is the case that we all have psychoses. In some people it is easier to see than in others.


These make me smile



Dr. Tran Also Dr. Tran Yet again Dr. Tran (very short... very good)


Tonight in the Control Room

So, I walk into the control room after Twi and had this conversation with Rusty, the Mid Control Room Operator:

Me: 'Sup
Rusty: Hey, read this. *hands me a hand-written note*
*note reads: 55 is missing a wheel. 19 cannot be shut off or it will not start up again*
*I walk to the radio*
M: Hey, Wyman...
Wyman: 'Sup?
M: Don't turn off your switcher. It seems that it will never ever start up again if you do.
W: Okay..
M: *to Rusty* Anything else?
R: Did you see this about 55?
M: Yeah, I didn't really notice anything wrong with it when I drove it all night.
R: *beat*
M: Which one was it?
R: Uh, driver side front.
M: Yeah, I never use that side of the switcher.

I guess they expected some sort of reaction to the fact that 55 lost a wheel on Day Sort. Before Twi, they were all waiting for me to say or do something. I don't really understand it. I don't drive 55. I don't like 55. It doesn't matter to me if it works or not because we have three other switchers and the weather doesn't require four. I feel like they wanted me to be outraged or to say something hysterical. It turns out that it was due to a wheel bearing failure. These things happen, I suppose. I'm more interested in how many there are to go up, who's running the board, and whether or not there are moves to make in the outbound. Is it just me?


Flash Doodle


Well that stole hours and hours of my life away. Good.


This Place


That's good, and there's lots else there that's good.


Dinner [update]

Okay, so the menu was as follows:

Slow Cooked BBQ Chicken
Cheesy Rice and Tomatoes
Hawaiian Rolls
Cream Cheese Clouds
Layered Pudding Awesomeness

I made all but the last two...

Invited guests: Me, Kate, Allison, Hillary, Adam, Rick, Tessa.

Hillary turned no call/no show because she got grounded at the last minute. Allie was an hour late, but she brought beer which made up for it. Tessa brought Ethan, which was awesome because he didn't really eat anything. Afterward, we went to TI and I got to drive a completely blitzed Nick and fairly okay Tylo home in Allie's new-to-her Jimmy. Our party lost Kate but gained Chris. When I went to bed the pans had been licked clean by guests.

I felt very proud of myself. It wasn't in the plan for me to cook, but I decided that I would at 3pm and at 7pm we were sitting down enjoying the food. I also played some music on myPod II which people seemed to enjoy. It was a very successful night. I'm quite proud of myself.


Tonight Kate and I are making dinner for seven people. I suppose that we're throwing a dinner party. Watch this space for updates including but not limited to: menu, guest list, inside jokes, pictures of food.


But that doesn't make it easy

Yes, I did it. I stopped it all. I decided that I didn't want to be hurt again. But that doesn't make it easy.

Yes, I said I would not feel the lack. I don't feel the lack. I haven't felt it because it's been gone since September. But that doesn't make it easy.

Yes, I think music helps. I seek out what feels right. I play the music that says the words I can't say out loud. But that doesn't make it easy.

Yes, I am sure. I needed to do this. I left myself exposed and vulnerable and I was taken advantage of. But that doesn't make it easy.

Yes, I think about it. I am not a machine. I try to come to terms with what has happened, what it means, and who that makes me in this big mess. But that doesn't make it easy.

Don't think that it makes it easy for me.

Driving to Town Late to Mail a Letter

Robert Bly

It is a cold and snowy night. The main street is deserted.
The only things moving are swirls of snow.
As I life the mailbox door, I feel its cold iron.
There is a privacy I love in this snowy night.
Driving around, I will waste more time.


Your mom is a package

This 5yr old girl was a package. Perhaps this worked in 1914, but it is now illegal to ship yourself... or so I'm told. I know that persons have died while being shipped. They forget that a trailer full of packages has very little room for air. So they *gasp* suffocate. Moral of the story? Don't be stupid.


Seeing Double Shots

'Visions link' to coffee intake.

Perhaps an interesting article... but check this:
People who drank more than seven cups of instant coffee a day were three times more likely to hallucinate than those who took just one, a study found.
Seven cups of instant coffee? I'm surprised that they aren't dead. I don't say this because that's a lot of caffeine; instant coffee sucks.



yay for a powernap to punctuate these 39 hours of wakefulness. yay for my insurance card and a soon-to-be-made chiropractor appointment. yay for an overnight low of 4. yay for thursday's -8 to 0. yay for carhartts. yay for yay. boo for losing my gloves and being hungry.


Yeah... it's official. (note the radio on my shoulder... yeah...)


Till you get enough

Mom, bless her heart, made this observation about me:
Stephen doesn't seem to give up. No matter how poorly they treat him or how badly a day goes, he seems to be ready to start up again the next day. It's like he wakes up and it was all a bad dream. I don't understand how it is that he avoids being discouraged.
Granted, this was reported to me by my father, but he and I talked about it. He was troubled by this apparent behavior of mine. I told him that it wasn't so bad and that it isn't an absolute behavior. That is to say that I know when enough is enough. However, in South Africa, what good would giving up do? He then thought about it and reframed it in a way that I agree with:
You don't give up until you're ready to give up. You try until you've tried everything and given every chance that you can. But, when you're done... you're done.

Yes, when I'm done, I'm done. So, let me say for the record that I'm done with currying favor. If you don't like who I am or how I am... then I'm terribly sorry. I have completely lost all patience for manipulating myself in order to have more friends. Besides, it wasn't working terribly well.

Half Thoughts

I have a lot of almost posts. Ideas that are nearly worth writing about include:

  • Being socially pressured to enter a relationship.

  • Mom and Dad perhaps beginning to give up on life.

  • The enormous hassle of syncing music and movies between 2 computers and an iPod.

  • That damn mouse that I hear in the ceiling tiles.

  • Work and the particular conundrum that Twi/Mid presents.

  • The Hillarious/Mosey On/Ally Cat/Kate/Cubbie/Grizzly Bear love heptagon.

  • That feeling of leaving something undone that I have everyday.

  • The looming nights that risk repeat pipe failure.

  • Hey, where is my winter coat?

  • The way that attending a funeral for a woman who passed away from breast cancer freaks me out to no end.

It isn't that these ideas are unworthy in and of themselves. Rather, I just don't have the ideas fully sorted in my mind to put words to them. Perhaps I will find the words while I'm switching this week, but I've got nothing worth nothing right now.

Instead I will post some lyrics because that's easy.

(All Paramore)

For a Pessimist, I'm Pretty Optimistic
I'm not so naive
My sorry eyes can see
The way you fight shy
Of almost everything
Well, if you give up
You'll get what you deserve

So what'd you think I would say?
No you can't run away, no you can't run away
So what did you think I would say?
No you can't run away, no you can't run away
You wouldn't

I never wanted to say this
You never wanted to stay
I put my faith in you, so much faith
And then you just threw it away
You threw it away

You were finished long before
We had even seen the start
Why don't you stand up, be a man about it?
Fight with your bare hands about it now
Yeah, yeah well you're just a mess
You do all this big talkin
So now let's see you walk it.
I said let's see you walk it.
They taped over your mouth
Scribbled out the truth with their lies
You little spies
Born for This
Everybody sing like it’s the last song you will ever sing
Tell me, tell me, do you feel the pressure now?
Everybody live like it’s the last day you will ever see
Tell me, tell me, do you feel the pressure now?
I don't want to run from anything uncomfortable
I just want, no
I just need this pain to end right here
Some things I'll never know
And I had to let them go
We Are Broken
And I'll take the truth at any cost


No Country for Old Men

Wow. That movie just makes me... wow.

Carla Jean Moss: Where'd you get the pistol?
Llewelyn Moss: At the gettin' place.
Carla Jean Moss: Did you buy that gun?
Llewelyn Moss: No. I found it.
Carla Jean Moss: Llewelyn!
Llewelyn Moss: What? Quit hollerin'.
Carla Jean Moss: What'd you give for that thing?
Llewelyn Moss: You don't need to know everything, Carla Jean.
Carla Jean Moss: I need to know that.
Llewelyn Moss: You keep runnin' that mouth I'm gonna' take you in the back and screw ya'.
Carla Jean Moss: Big talk.
Llewelyn Moss: Keep it up.
Carla Jean Moss: Fine. I don't wanna' know. I don't even wanna' know where you been all day.
Llewelyn Moss: That'll work.

Ed Tom Bell: You know Charlie Walser? Has the place east of Sanderson? Well you know how they used to slaughter beeves, hit 'em with a maul right here to stun 'em... and then up and slit their throats? Well here Charlie has one trussed up and all set to drain him and the beef comes to. It starts thrashing around, six hundred pounds of very pissed-off livestock if you'll pardon me... Charlie grabs his gun there to shoot the damn thing in the head but what with the swingin' and twistin' it's a glance-shot and ricochets around and comes back hits Charlie in the shoulder. You go see Charlie, he still can't reach up with his right hand for his hat... Point bein', even in the contest between man and steer the issue is not certain.

Anton Chigurh: Let me ask you something. If the rule you followed brought you to this, of what use was the rule?

Ellis: Well all the time ya spend trying to get back what's been took from ya, more is going out the door. After a while you just have to try to get a tourniquet on it.

Wendell: Yes, sir. None of the three had I.D. on 'em, but they're tellin' me all three is Mexican... was Mexicans.
Ed Tom Bell: There's a question, whether they stopped being and when.

Anton Chigurh: Don't put it in your pocket, sir. Don't put it in your pocket. It's your lucky quarter.
Gas Station Proprietor: Where do you want me to put it?
Anton Chigurh: Anywhere not in your pocket. Where it'll get mixed in with the others and become just a coin. Which it is.



The hours that I've been working lately have been completely destroying my concept of time. Switching back to back is something that I've always wanted to do, but my mind needs time to catch up.


In Praise of My Bed

Meredith Holmes

At last I can be with you!
The grinding hours
since I left your side!
The labor of being fully human,
working my opposable thumb,
talking, and walking upright.
Now I have unclasped
unzipped, stepped out of.
Husked, soft, a be-er only,
I do nothing, but point
my bare feet into your
clean smoothness
feel your quiet strength
the whole length of my body.
I close my eyes, hear myself
moan, so grateful to be held this way.


In Paris with You

James Fenton

Don't talk to me of love. I've had an earful
And I get tearful when I've downed a drink or two.
I'm one of your talking wounded.
I'm a hostage. I'm marooned.
But I'm in Paris with you.

Yes I'm angry at the way I've been bamboozled
And resentful at the mess I've been through.
I admit I'm on the rebound
And I don't care where are we bound.
I'm in Paris with you.

      Do you mind if we do not go to the Louvre,
      If we say sod off to the sodding Notre Dame,
      If we skip the Champs Elysées
      And remain here in this sleazy
      Old hotel room
      Doing this and that
      To what and whom
      Learning who you are,
      Learning what I am.

Don't talk to me of love. Let's talk of Paris,
The little bit of Paris in our view.
There's that crack across the ceiling

And the hotel walls are peeling
And I'm in Paris with you.

Don't talk to me of love. Let's talk of Paris.
I'm in Paris with the slightest thing you do.
I'm in Paris with your eyes, your mouth,
I'm in Paris with . . . all points south.
Am I embarrassing you?
I'm in Paris with you.