See y'all...
written 2000-01-09 17:50:35

"It's time I sling the baskets off this silver burdened horse...sink my toes
into the ground, and set a different course..."

I'm bound for California, y'all. Next time you see me, I'll have an address It's been a pleasure, everyone. See you all again some day.


written 2000-01-10 12:01:00 know those "adopt a highway" signs that are all over the place?

At the 181 mile marker in Oklahoma, on I-40 west, there's a piece of highway
adopted by "Bob Weaver, family, and friends."



written 2000-01-11 12:42:18

(I'm trying out this mass-email thingey from Outlook, we'll see if it works.
Please let me know if you don't want to get these emails anymore, and send
it on to friends who didn't get it. Better yet, send me their email

Yeah. Greetings from a Motel Six in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.  I managed to
make it here in one day. Not too shabby. This is due mostly to the fact that
the speed limit across all of I-40 is 70mph. Except in New Mexico, where it
seems to be -75- ...sweet. It's actually difficult to break the speed limit
here, and when you aren't consciously trying to speed (as we all do in 55
mph zones, but with a 75mph speed limit, I find myself just driving however
feels confortable and don't concern myself with the speedometer much.),
you'll find yourself actually going UNDER the speed limit. I keep looking
down and seeing my speedometer at around 65-70.

...oh, and not sleeping for 28 hours worth of driving helped a lot in
reaching Santa Rosa today, too.

...of course, I could've used this speed limit about ten miles to the east
of the NM pulled over for going THREE friggin' miles over the
speed, those Texas cops REALLY take their traffic laws
seriously...the cowboy let me off with a warning, though, so I can't

Anyhow, the ride has been going pretty quickly thus far. Tennessee and
Arkansas were the most boring states, but since they were relatively near
the beginning of the trip, they sped by fast enough. Tennessee was fine,
honestly; it just wasn't anything special. Arkansas, however, SUCKED. The
roads are disastrously bad out there. I actually had to turn on the radio,
since I was being bounced around so bad that I couldn't get a CD to play
without constantly skipping. No shit.

Now, as far as geographic locations are concerned, I'm pretty cynical about
"nature's inherent beauty" ...there's really only one view before that
impressed the hell out of me: the top of the Eiffel Tower...well, add
another to that list. The stretch of land between the middle of Oklahoma and
the western border of Texas was ineffably beautiful. Wow. Sunset over New
Mexico was definitely something to write home about, too. And did I mention
the speed limit is 75? I may just stay here.  :)  Everything is very
panoramic; the sky just fills your whole view.

My wrists are killing me. Both of them. Not a good thing to be developing
carpal tunnel syndrome right before the start of a programming job, but I
think it might just be all the driving I've been doing this month. I've
noticed that on long trips I tend to sit my hands on my lap and hold the
wheel, and just tense and untense my wrists to adjust direction and steer.
So once I get settled in, they'll probably stop hurting. That's my official
justification for the time being. Hopefully those medical benefits will kick
in REAL soon.  :(

Why DO they call these things Motel "6" anyhow? I've noticed that every
advertisement almost always had two other sixes in it somewhere (like "Stay
here for only 36.99 a night! Exit 26 on I-40!")... 6. 6. 6. I figured this
must be a front for some kind of cult activity, so I had to investigate.
Nothing strange so far. But if my body is found dead and ritualistically
marked up, you all know what happened.

I've burnt through most of my CD collection at this point (and you realize
how lame some of those CDs you've collected over the years are when you are
running out of selections..."Oooh, I'll listen to Richard Marx!" Ugh.

Sleep...felt VERY good.

I've got about 900 or 1000 miles to go until Orange County, and I'll be
leaving this motel around noon (mountain time; it'll be 2 o'clock for you on
the East coast....) so I'll probably hit California in the wee hours of the
morning. Talk to y'all then.


The most western point on I-40 with a Waffle House is Amarillo, Texas.
written 2000-01-12 06:01:36

...just in case you were wondering.  :)

Not quite to my destination yet. I'm in Victorville, CA, probably less than
a hundred miles from my destination. Seeing as that would put me at Scott
Draeker's door at 4a.m., I opted for the hotel room tonight.

Started off the day right with a meal at a closed down gas station turned
all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. Six whole items on the bar, but actually it
was all pretty good. The breakfast of champions. Finished my email at the
breakfast table. Ain't technology grand? Everyone should own a VAIO.

Wrists seem a little better today, with the left one bothering me almost not
at all (a definite improvement from last week), and the right one
hurting...uh, less.

New Mexico continued to be beautiful. But this quickly gaveway to the
universe of ineffable gaudiness that is...ARIZONA. Think of an Indian in a
spaghetti western movie. Think Buffalo Bill's sidekick. You know the type.
VERY stereotypical. Now have him making fake indian trinkets at discount
prices. Now have his environment splattered with white trash-style
decorations and obnoxious billboards advertising things like "rattlesnake
skins and real indian silver, cheapest prices anywhere!" Picture
advertisements for authentic buffalo burgers. Picture hotel rooms IN THE
SHAPE OF WIGWAMS.  (No shit...I actually saw this off an exit somewhere)

Now, picture that nasty display for the next 400 miles with some casino type
things thrown in every now and then. That's Arizona. Good riddance.

Once I hit California, I had to pass the "inspection station"'s kinda
like a small tool booth, but I wasn't really sure what they were planning to
inspect, so I put on a winning smile, and tried my best not to look like a
criminal. I also considered the possibility that they wanted to inspect my
trunk for illegal immigrants or my engine for emissions or something.

Wrong. They wanted to inspect my FRUIT.

"Any fruit, sir?"
"Uh, I think I have an orange in the cooler..."

[Armed security guards approach]

"Please step away from the car, with the orange over your head, sir."

Well, sure.

After that, I almost ran out of gas. I pulled off at the only gas station
for 25+ miles, and found that the cheap gas was $1.89 a gallon. That's not a
typo. I have the receipt. It took over 22 bucks to fill my 12 gallon tank.

If you do the math, you might see that "over 22 bucks" is actually the
entire 12 gallons at that price. I know this for a fact; the auto-shutoff
feature of this gas pump didn't work, so it alerted me to the fact that my
tank was full my spraying gasoline everywhere as my tank overflowed. Is this
why they put that warning on the gas cap about "topping off"?

Other exits later on have the cheap stuff for 1.50 ...also, not a typo. I
hope it gets MUCH cheaper in Orange County, but I have this sinking feeling
it won't.

Oh, Highway 666 really DOES exist...I thought that Natural Born Killers just
made that up for fiction's ends, just like Robert Downey Jr. says,
in Gallup, New Mexico. What government official let THAT one slip by?

Speaking of the mark of the beast, I get to this Motel 6 (my cult
investigations are continuing...:)  ) and find that the phone number here is
760-243-0666 ...WHAT DID I TELL Y'ALL?!  It's Satan's hideout. (and if you
get this before 3p.m. EST and want to call, I'm in room 204.)

Altavista lists 10 different internet dialup numbers for this area code,
none of which are local to this friggin' hotel room. I get this obnoxious
beeping whenever I dial any of them, as if to say, "hey, jagoff, you can't
call the room next DOOR without using our AT&T service, so just give it up,
punk!" Hey, a beep can say a lot.

So fine. I used the calling card Youcentric gave me (and never deactivated)
to call DOWN THE ROAD and connect to the internet. Ain't technology great?
Figuring out the dialing string for that took gotta time the
numbers right to get it to go looked something like this in
the long run:


Fun, huh?

A moment of Zen: here are some signs I've seen down the road:

"Safety pullout."  (uhh?)
"Controlled burning ahead." (didn't see anything on fire, though.)
Bumper sticker: "Cryptography is not a crime."  (I'm so home here.)
Adopt-A-Highway donor: "Lesbians for Change." (Hell, I've got a whole

So I'm crashing out for the night. I'll be hitting either Tustin (Loki
headquarters) or Santa Ana (Scott Draeker's place) tommorow afternoon. Will
write again then.

(By the way, I'm seeking the following email addresses...please help, if you
can, for you Charlotte folks: Nicole Kinney, Connie Bray, Amanda Labrie,Will
Harkins, Charlie Heard, Andrew Webster, Heather Hughes, Brad Hughes (is he and anyone else you can think of. Thanks!)


Made it.
written 2000-01-13 02:58:11

...I'm here. Hi to those just tuning in. I'm now at my final destination in
California, and am sitting on my bed (apparently the sofa deal was
completely metaphorical) after my first day of "work." Some of you are
probably getting emails out of sync, since some were written (but not sent)
this afternoon on this laptop, while others were sent directly from hotmail
via Loki's network. I need to sync up my address book with the web-based
hotmail service, so I don't get spit upon for booting up Win98 at the
office. In the meantime, bear with me as there will be some lag and time
skews on my emails.

Anyhow, forgot to mention this yesterday:

Remember the gasoline overflowing from my tank? Well, rather than smell like
gas for the rest of the trip, I went to a rest area to clean up. Upon
entering the bathroom, I found a sign with the following text:

"WARNING: Detectable levels of ARSENIC in this water. Do NOT drink."



Life at Loki.
written 2000-01-13 03:46:57

Loki is the Norse god of Chaos. How aptly named is this company, then. Once
you walk through the pleasant garden in the middle of this office complex
(you Queens people can think of the center area of Albright for a visual),
and find the door to the Loki suite (suite #42, coincidentally), these are
the first things you might notice, in no particular order:

- Bill Gates's picture on the dart board.
- An iMac ("Blueberry") on the front desk.
- Boxes. Cardboard boxes everywhere.
- Cables, joysticks, and other assorted hardware everywhere.
- Handwritten list of exact weight of each product taped to the wall.
- Original proof of box to Myth II, uncut, tacked to the wall. This is
actually pretty cool. If you cut the pattern out and fold it, you get a real
packaging box.
- Robotic Operating Buddy, his gyros, and associated ghetto Nintendo.
- Piles and piles of games and books. Everywhere. I wouldn't walk in here in
my bare feet.

"Disorganized" does not begin to cover it. It's great.

So around lunchtime I'm pulling into Orange County. I now understand what
everyone's been telling me about the smog out here. I consider dicking
around until nighttime, since all I have are directions to Scott Draeker's
house, and I assume he and his wife (who also works for Loki) won't be home.
Still, I get bored and decide to check out the house. Nice place; kinda what
you expect in a place like Orange County...I guess the best description is
expensive looking, but not on that Fresh-Prince-of-Bel-Air level of
expensive. "Well off," perhaps. Kinda a Spanish feel to the design, like a
lot of the houses out here. Since there's a car in the driveway, I give a
knock on the door. A rugrat answers it. I hate that. If I have kids, I'm
training them to do the same thing my cat instinctually does when the
doorbell rings: run and hide under the table in the dining room.

So I'm like, "uh, is your mommy or daddy home, kid?"

At this point Kayt Sorhaindo (that's Scott's wife...dunno what's up with the
last name) gets to the door. She's pretty cool, in a frenetic kind of way.
She's this giant source of energy...talks a mile a minute...and seems a
little burnt out by the two little kids and-one-on-the-way. Honestly, the
little girl is cute, but the little boy just continually does that maniacal
laughter and jumping on you's a lot like what your labrador
retriever does to your guests when they first show up, no matter what you do
to stop him...the kid just kept jumping on me...if he tried to sniff my
crotch I was gonna roll up a newspaper and bap him on the nose.

So I put my hat on his head to distract him while I got directions to Loki's
office. Kayt drew me a map and wrote down the telephone number, in case I
get lost on this five minute excursion (hell, I just made it 2500 miles on
worse directions, this was gonna be a cakewalk!)...she looked sad and said,
"oh, you don't have a phone, do you?"

"I'm sure I can find a payphone if I need to..."

This seemed to releave her immensely. In so many words, she thinks that most
of Loki's staff could do quantum mechanics in their sleep, but probably are
so socially inept they couldn't handle finding a payphone if they get lost.

So onward to Loki.

There's no one to be found in the front room. So I wonder down the hall, and
into a german dude with LONG black hair. And no shoes. He's walking around
in his athletic socks. So much for my fears about walking around barefoot, I
guess. He points me to Scott Draeker's office, and I make my way down there.
Scott's got a beard now, and his shirt open about three buttons too low.
He's on the phone when I poke my head in his door, and without missing a
beat, midsentence, he says, "holy shit, Ryan Gordon just walked in my door.
I'll call you back." (What an introduction; you'd think I was the Pope or

I get roughly a similiar reaction from Sam Lantinga, Loki's lead programmer.
Smart dude; looks and sounds a lot like the hippie teacher from Beavis and

Apparently my first project will be to write a map editor for Heroes of
Might and Magic III (I mentioned I knew how to use GTK+, so I guess I signed
off for this duty automatically) ...Quake 3 Arena is already shipping, so
I'll be picking at bugs for the next release...there's a crate of a couple
hundred copies of Quake 3 CD-ROMs in the hall...definitely droolworthy.

I got my "employee starter kit": a pile of six or seven games. Myth II,
Heretic II, Quake 3, Railroad Tycoon II, Civilization: Call to Power, Erik's
Ultimate Solitaire, and Might & Magic III. And a dual Pentium III/500 system
to run them on. Oooooh baby.

So today was spent customizing my machine, and playing deathmatch Q3 against
a few other Loki employees. Sam and I spent some time squashing a bug with
deadlocks in SDL.

Sam and his girlfriend took me out to a place called "Spoons" for
dinner...some of the best milkshakes I've ever seen...when I ordered a
hambuger, the waitress asked how I wanted it cooked....I'm like "uh...with
fire?" (for those not in North Carolina, there's STRICT laws there about how
you can have beef'll never gets asked there how you want your
burger, since there's only one way: burnt to hell.) She took me by surprise,
I guess.

For you Phish fans, apparently my email address will be It's not set up yet.

Scott was mentioning that I could unload my stuff at his house for now, and
(cringing to myself as I think of the disarray in my car, which makes Loki's
office space look damned clean in comparison) I told him that, being the
world traveller that I am, I'm fully prepared to live out of my backpack for
the next six months. Apparently this was a "good" answer, since the response
it elicited was, "hey, do you want to go to New York?"

(For reference, that was said roughly like, "hey, do you want to go get some

Sure. Looks like I'll be manning the Loki booth at LinuxWorld in New York on
February 1st. Sweet.

So, I'm beat. It was a long day of playing video games. Life is good.

Talk to y'all.


National Geographic look at a programmer...
written 2000-01-13 22:55:14

(For you Pi Kapps, I saw a car with a sticker in the window that read:
"Powered by Deez Nutz". Really.)

Email account is now set up. If y'all really dislike, I can now be
reached at, or alternately
...both end up in the same mailbox. Also, I got my address book moved over
to the web-based version of Hotmail, so hopefully this will still work.

Anyhow, I was informed on the LokiHack mailing list that accepting a job
as a developer in California, statistically speaking, reduces my chances
of mating. Seeing as it's too late to quit, I figure I'll just have to
forage on in my new role as the geek who makes other people look more

As far as daily events go, I woke up (to screaming hellspawn children
downstairs) around 8:00a.m., read some more of Cryptonomicon, hopped in
the shower when it became available, and was off to Loki. The basic gist
is that I spend about half my day playing video games, and half reading

...and I get paid to do so. Oh, yes.

But finally I got set up with the code for the Might and Magic III's relatively clean, surprisingly, but it's all crufty MFC
code, which means that all the cleanliness in the world won't change the
fact that I'll have to rewrite most of it from scratch. Joy.

Anyhow, I made a first stab at apartment hunting today. Found a studio
apartment EXACTLY one mile from the office for about 700 bucks a month,
which for the record, is about 50 bucks more than I was paying in
Charlotte, so it's not as bad as it sounds.

Oh, by the way, don't be fooled. California isn't nearly as expensive as
you think. It's a little more pricey than, say, Charlotte, but it's not

Still, Andrew Henderson (another LokiHacker from Atlanta) just signed
papers to work here, so I might wait to see if he wants to split an
apartment...oh, wait. He's bringing his fiancee...that won't work.


I really wanted to discuss my eating habits. Mostly I'm on what I've
termed the "Friends and Family" diet, which basically means that I eat
only when those around me are footing the bill. Good for weight loss,
especially in foreign cities like Tustin. So after spending the better
portion of the day eating (free) stale pretzels and communal coke, I
finally broke down and went to find food. Sam pointed me towards a
Persian restaurant, so I figured if I'm going to try something new, I
might as well go all the way.

Every play Russian Roulette Dining?  It's fun. Basically, you find a
restaurant you've never been to, go in, and point to some items on the
menu. Don't even read it. Get your food to-go. When you get back to your
house, or office, open the box and see what you selected. This works best
in chinese restaurants.

I ended up with some sort of chicken kabob with rice and a real thin
torilla-wrap. It was delicious. I could have just as easily ended up with
dog, but that's a chance you take when you live on the edge like me.  :)

Sam squashed some more SDL bugs...mouse grabbing now works in all sorts
of wierd configurations.

Found out that Disneyland is a little closer than I thought. Roughly five
miles (not a typo) from here. Sweet.

Got invited to a Jewish Casino Night. That just begs to be a good
story. I'll keep y'all posted.

It is confirmed, I'll be in New York from January 1st through the 5th (that
should actually read "February". --Ed.), shlepping Quake 3 at LinuxWorld expo
for a few days. Come visit if y'all get a chance. General expo passes are free

Alright, going home. Sam's locking up. See y'all.


Nutcases abound.
written 2000-01-14 21:45:52 everyday, down Newport Avenue, there's this guy. Sits there
everyday on a park bench. No big deal in itself, but the thing is he has
this big wooden sign leaning up against the bench everyday. I think he
repaints the sign everyday. It's a big, white hunk o' wood with black
letters. The first day I drove by it said, "Blessed is he who cuts
through the bullcrap."

The second day it said, "An (the) answer always brings more questions."

I forget what it said today. But I asked around, and sure enough, that
dude is out there every day. About a block down the road from him there
is a "Christian Science" church...dunno if there's a link here, but no
one's quite sure what to make of the guy. Next time I see him, I'm gonna
pull over and talk to him. I'll letcha all know.

Speaking of nutcases, I went to "Jack-in-the-Box" for lunch. This is the
most depressing place I've ever been. There was this dude that looked
like Dustin Hoffman sitting at a table and talking to himself. You know
the type; the kind of guy you stare at until he glances at you, then you
try to pretend you were looking at the potted plant beside him, in case
he wants to kill you. He must be a very funny man, since he would let
out this high-pitched, oversmoked cackle every few minutes.

There's a picture of the "founder" of Jack-in-the-Box on the wall. It
looks like something out of the movieization of Pink Floyd's "The
Wall". I think this was an advertising gimmick, but I'm not sure. :)

The lady who took my order for a Chicken Fahita Pita (say THAT five times
fast!) had a badge on that said "Judy; fifteen years of service."

Fifteen friggin' years in a fast-food joint. Kill yourself, Judy. Kill
yourself now.

Anyhow, I'm supposed to go to this Jewish community center Casino Night
tommorow. If I make it there, it'll be a trip, I'm sure.

Got Civ: Call to Power working on Slackware 7. Almost have the Heroes III
map editor compiling on Windows 98, and a GTK framework (thanks to
Glade) hacked together for the Linux rewrite.

Supposedly Loki is moving offices to Irvine (I guess that's nearby) soon,
so I might hold off on apartment hunting briefly. This will be good, so I
can save a week or two of paychecks up before dumping them into rent...
ooh...that reminds me...need to fill out that W4 form. Ugh.

I made the mistake the other day of mentioning that I'm not too impressed
with South Park. People's mouths dropped open. Kayt informed me that of
all the quirky people we have here, the only thing that truly unites them
all is this show. Personally, I think that's a little scary. That and
Quake are the binding elements here. And computer genius, perhaps.

Saw the packaging for Quake 3. Tin boxes. VERY pretty. Comes with SuSE
Linux 6.3, too.

So, I'm gonna reply to some of this mail piling up in my box (thanks to
all that write, by the way!) and be on my way.

Signing off.


written 2000-01-16 19:43:12

Greetings from the Draeker residence bathroom around 6:00a.m.

It's been a very full night.

First, I woke up and tried to get VMware installed on my laptop. This is
a cool piece of software; it lets you run Windows in a window. No
kidding. Lots of fun. The thing doesn't install on Slackware Linux (what
I've got on my laptop) due to a difference in the init directory
structure from Red Hat. So I spent some time hacking their Perl install
program to make it work...learning Perl on-the-fly is about equivalent to
learning Swahili from watching VH1. I don't recommend it.

Anyhow, most of that work is done. (Update from Sunday; it's done,
now) Maybe I can get my name in the VMware credits for "adding BSD-style
init support to the installer." Woohoo.

Watched "Run Lola Run" on videotape tonight. It was wierd seeing it
dubbed into English (in the theaters, it had subtitles), especially since
Manni seemed more like a whiny bitch than a bad-ass. Plus, after a while
you tend to forget you're reading subtitles, but you keep the original
feel for the dialog. Not so with dubbing.

Anyhow, if you haven't seen it, it's a German indie film largely about
chaos theory, but it manages to feel like a 90 minute badass music
video. Check it out.

After this, I was off to a Jewish community center for "Casino Night." I
was invited to this by a coworker of mine, named Loren. Loren's a nice
enough guy, but you get the impression he's one of those guys that got
beat up from kindergarden on through grad school. The kind that you like
talking to, but you know that he's not going to leave when the
conversation's over.

The consumate 25 year-old virgin. You know the type.

Anyhow, he invited me to this thing, so I figure, hey that's a new
experience. So off I went. And it wasn't QUITE as comedic as I had
hoped. I mean, yeah, there was every single jewish stereotype in the
world there, a hand-painted portrait of George Burns on the wall, and a
advertisement for a seminar entitled, "Sure, Jesus was a Jew, but a Jew
can't be FOR Jesus!" (No, I did not add that exclamation point), but it
wasn't like a living, breathing Woody Allen film, like I had envisioned.

Mostly, it was a standard casino-type thing. You get your funny money at
the door, and you proceed to piss it away on various gambling-related

I figured this would be a good place to test out my abilities to control
randomess. :)  Mostly, I found I didn't do too well at roulette (above
the average), but I think it's because I have the attention span of a
gnat, and lose my concentration before the wheel stops spinning. Most the
hands of blackjack I played came up as twenty one, however, except when a
burst of cheering or something would distract me in the middle.

I mean, I don't want to say there's a correlation, but it's even starting
to freak me out. I tried to demonstrate this to Loren, by having him draw
out a hand of five card stud for each of us. I came up with three kings
and two queens. You draw your own conclusions.

Las Vegas is only a couple hundred miles from here. Hhm...  :)

Since "Run Lola Run" features a scene with a roulette table that comes up
with twenty twice in a row (with 37 slots on the wheel, that's basically
statistically impossible), I figured I'd watch for this. It never
happened. If you bet 100 bucks on that and it DID happen, however, you'd
have 122500 bucks after two spins.

I left as quickly as possible after the gambling was over, since the
gorgeous dealer I was busy being enchanted with all evening was packing
up to leave herself. Her name was Lisa. I know this because she was
wearing a name tag and I had spent much of my night staring at that
region of her clothing. This is also a good explanation as to my
attention span difficulties at the roulette table.

So, after the gambling ended, Loren, Stephane (french dude from's pronounced Stef-ahhn) and I headed out to "The Spectrum",
which was apparently a big movie theater, but being from Philly, I
expected something else entirely.

Stephane is from Southern France, and you can tell this by three details
of his character:

1) His accent.
2) His fanny pack.
3) His driving.

The dude drives like a friggin' maniac. Like everyone else in
Europe. Thankfully, he stayed on the correct side of the road. I need to
tell him that he's gonna end up in the same sexual boat as Loren if he
doesn't lose the fanny pack.

It was about 1:00a.m., and nothing was playing. Fortunately this is a
HUGE mall complex, complete with CIRCUS TENTS, (no kidding: Cirque
d'Solaie is performing there...I know, I butchered the spelling...) and a
Dave & Busters.

For those that have never seen a Dave and Buster's, think a classy,
bigger version of Chuck 'E' Cheese's. With no rodent costumes. And
alcohol. And virtual reality equipment. I went to one of these in Atlanta
for the Slashdot party...they will suck your money like Count Dracula
drains a virgin, but MAN, they are FUN.

And, I still had my "power card" (the video games have a card slot, no
coins) from Atlanta. I "recharged" it with twenty bucks I can't really
afford, and since you get a random number with each recharge, you even
get to gamble here. That is, if that random number matches the ID number
on your card, you get 100% of your purchase in addition to what you just
bought (and 50% if half numbers match, yadda yadda...) All three were
matches, so I effectively got 40 bucks worth of video games. Sweet!

We pissed around in D&B's until 2:00a.m, and then over to Loki to check
mail and play some Quake (you know, for a change. hah). Tried to write an
email to Erik, but Netscape died in the middle. I dumped the contents of
the system's memory to a file and pulled my reply out, but I haven't
finished writing it. I am now a system recovery God for that
stunt. You'll get the email later, Erik, but I still have it, at
least.  :)

I expect Quake will have the "ice cream parlor syndrome" sooner or
later. The theory is this: if you work in an ice cream parlor, you can
have ALLLLL the ice cream you want. Tons of it. You may drown yourself in
ice cream...bathe yourself in it, if you want. 32 flavors and then some.

After about a week of working in an ice cream shop, you would rather eat
your own feces than eat ice cream. You burn out on it. Too much of a good
thing, and all that crap. I'm hoping Quake is the same way. I've wasted
too many hours on DeathMatch.

I asked about the theater scene here, but the best answer I got from
Loren was that there's a dinner theater down the street from Loki. Of
course, Loren also told me that his one true theatrical love is musical
theater, so I guess he's a 25 year-old, gay virgin. But then again, he
also didn't realize that dinner theater is kinda like making a movie
version of a Charles Dickens novel, so I guess he gets filed in the
"Waiting for Guffman" category.

Thinking about writing "Cryptonomicon! The Musical" (exclamation point
added by me). No, not really.

Wrists feel almost perfect again. Nothing like a carpal tunnel scare to
make you reevaluate your life and install Xwrits. More on this some other

It was time to chuck the cooler in my car: the melted ice had leaked
through the bottom, into the passenger-side carpet, where it could not
evaporate, since there was a block of styrofoam on top of it. It has
begun to mildew. I opened my car door today and found the interior
smelled like the portajohns at the Phish new year's eve show.

Highlight of the night: Piano player at the Jewish community center
playing "If I Were a Rich Man" from Fiddler on the Roof to close off the
evening. I'm not sure if this could be considered tasteless or not.

Night (morning!) y''s about 10:00am on the east coast. See you.


just an FYI.
written 2000-01-18 01:18:32 one needs to be on this mailing list that doesn't want to be. In
case I wasn't clear in the first place, please, PLEASE tell me if you
want to be taken off of it, and I'll happily do so. I understand that
there's just so much email one can read in a day, so no hard feelings if
someone doesn't want to be on here.

Right? Right.


Tommorow: more of my fairy-tale life as a cartoon character.


bathrooms and postage and chairs, oh my!
written 2000-01-20 04:14:24

Hello my little apple dumplings.

Gotta play a little bit of catch up here for the last few days.

First, in case anyone is going to New York (hah), the website for free
tickets to LinuxWorld is, not like I had previously said.

Secondly, this mailing list stuff is now addressed to myself, and the
other 48 (!!!) of you are being blind-carbon-copied. This will prevent
"spamming" and also clean up y'all's email headers. Thanks, Erik, for the
suggestion. Also, anyone you want to recieve this email, please send me
the address and I'll add it to the list. Comments also welcome. Yadda
yadda yadda.

I saw "The 13th Warrior" last night. We watch a lot of movies around
here. We also have a pirated copy of the full South Park movie on the
network at Loki. Good stuff.

Got my next project as incentive to finish off the Heroes III map editor
(which is progressing nicely, btw), but I'm not legally allowed to
discuss it. Really. Let's just say it will ROCK to have my name on the
credits of this game. And Greg will crap himself.  :)

C++ on Linux is still WAY lagging behind Windows. In case anyone cares.

Anyhow, what I really wanted to talk about are my bosses. Basically,
there's Sam, who spends half his day looking over my shoulder
(litterally, since if I swing my arm to the right, I'll hit the back of
his chair) to make sure I'm being productive, which is fine since that's
partially his job, and Scott, who owns Loki.

Both are cool guys...but Sam tends to irk me a little bit. He's one of
those guys that NEVER reacts the way you expect him tell him a
joke and he doesn't laugh, even for politeness's sake. You know the
type. After a terse conversation with Sam, you tend to walk away with the
distinct impression that you are a shithead. It's very disabling.

Take that stereotype a step further for Sam...just when you think he has
no sense of humor, he'll crack up at something small you say. So overall,
any time spent with him actually burns calories; you spend every
conscious second that you are in the same room with him trying to gauge
his reactions. He spends 90% of the workday sitting about 1.5 feet away
from me.

Which is why I spend the other ten percent of the time hiding. I need to
relax for at least five minutes out of every hour, which is why I
installed Xwrits.

I mentioned this before. Here's what Xwrits does. Basically, you run this
program, and after you type on your keyboard for fifty-five minutes
without a noticable break, a little window with a sore looking wrist pops
up. You click on it, and the wrist slumps over like it's resting. After
five minutes, the wrist (and attached hand) point valiantly forward, and
you can start typing again. If you try to type during those five minutes,
the wrist (and attached fingers) make an obscene gesture at you. I
personally find a lot of strength in that.

None the less, pleading carpal tunnel prevention in the software industry
is always a good excuse to jagoff for five minutes out of every hour. I
have recently been spending this time exploring the five-minute radius
around Loki headquarters. Currently I've found not much of interest on
foot. Except today.

Every Wednesday across from Loki there's a "Farmer's market", where a
bunch of (surprise) farmers drive up in trucks, set up tables, and peddle
their wares.

It's a lot like a flea market for produce. It's kinda cool. The highlight
for today's market was some homemade salsa that Andy (our QA
guy) scored...dear LORD, my mouth is still burning from that death brew
hours later. I guess the name "Lava dip" should have tipped me off to
this, but I'm now a few tastebuds wiser.

Sam looks and sounds a lot like that hippie teacher from Beavis and

Scott Draeker, on the other hand, looks a little like Chris Farley with a
good beard and a pulse...nonetheless, he's a great guy. I wanted to
demonstrate the man's compassion to you all.

First, remember Stephane? The french dude who drives like a maniac? He
finally got a car of his own. A little red number...two door coupe. A
potential chick-magnet, although probably not enough of one to cancel out
the fanny-pack.

At any rate, with some amount of pomp and circumstance, he returned the
key to Scott's car. Which he's been driving since he came to work for
Loki. Give or take, that's about FIVE MONTHS that car has been on loan to
him. I would say that's generous of Scott, but that was before I made the
connection of why Scott's always looking for a ride home everyday...Scott
gave up not just A car for Stephane to drive, but HIS car. I find that
impressive. This is in addition to the fact that everyone that works for
Loki has lived in the guy's house for some amount of time or another.

I -am- telling you this for a reason. First, I need to tell you about my
chair. I don't have one. Well, I do, but it's not very comfortable, and
it squeaks a lot. A chair that squeaks profusely for several hours wears
on everyone's nerves sooner than later. Apparently Loki employees get
taken to some furniture store and bring back a chair of their choosing
eventually...they haven't gotten to this point with me yet (in fact, it's
occurred to me that I never even signed an employment agreement, so
TECHNICALLY I'm not under a noncompete or NDA... hhm. More on this some
other time.), so whatever was laying about became the point I place my
butt upon.

The other day I see Scott wheeling a cart around. I ask him what he's
doing and he tells me he's bringing some chairs up to the new upstairs
offices. I'm like, "great...does this mean -I'm- getting a chair soon?"

I don't mean to sound catty, but c'mon, the upstairs lawyers just aren't
likely to remain planted in front of a monitor for twelve hours a
day. Their need for high-quality ass-platforms just isn't as great as
mine. I think I should get dibs on the furniture. I know, I'm whining.

Anyhow, later that day, Scott comes into Sam, Stephane and my office, to
inform us of TurboLinux's (a Japanese company) recent venture capital.

57 million dollars. Companies go PUBLIC and don't raise 57 million
dollars. As usual, this is not a typo. What would YOU do with 57 million

"Personally, Scott, I'd buy myself a chair."

(pregnant pause.)

"Y'know what, Ryan...I'm gonna shame the fuck out of you," says Scott as
he walks out of the office. That's a direct quote. A moment later he
returns, pushing in front of him the chair from his office.

"Here. You use this until we get you a new one," and as quickly as he
appeared, he was gone again with my old seat.

I call after him as I try my new seat on for size, "ooh, I'm really
shamed now, Scott! Thanks so much!" And I smile and settle into my work
in my comfy new chair.

...and much to my surprise, guilt set in.

So I find myself wheeling this nice chair back into Scott's office, where
he is sitting in the obnoxious, uncomfortable, squeaky chair doing some
work. He sees me in the doorway as I try to explain that he's right, and
I'm a shithead, but he just points back towards my office and says, "no,
you keep it."

Who'd've thought? He shamed the fuck out of me.

The point is the dude's got the biggest heart of just about anyone I've
ever met...and I guess I learned a little something about being spoiled,

Anyhow...what else? Oh, the post office.

I got my first paycheck, for three days work. Checks are cut twice a
month here, so I just happened to stumble into this right at the end of a
pay period.

Since 1-800-WACHOVIA had, earlier that day, declared my bank account
"OVERDRAWN" in that cheery, digitized, pre-recorded voice that makes you
want to throw a brick through the phone line, I was rather pleased to get
some flow. In fact, I even did "The Money Dance" in celebration.

For those uninitiated in the ways, The Money Dance was actually started
by tribal indians when droughts came across the land. It involves you
bouncing from foot to foot while moving your index fingers in a somewhat
Saturday Night Fever, disco style, occasionally pointing at your
paycheck, and singing, "I've got MONEEEEEEEY...I've got MONEEEEEEY."

Slight quantities of retardation, and a mullet, add to the visual
effectiveness of The Money Dance. Accept no substitutes.

Anyhow, I sent the check express mail to Columbia, SC (a "small
town" according to the lady at the post office), where Wachovia will
happily place the funds in your checking account for you. I sent the last
of my actual Charlotte bills by standard mail, in hopes that everything
will make it to its final destination in the correct order.

Coincidentally, a rebate for my laptop showed up the day I left
Charlotte. From Sony headquarters in California. So this means it went
across the country. Carrie's gonna have to mail it back across the
country to me for signing, where I will then have to mail it back across
the country to have it deposited in my account.

Note that Bank of America exists out here AND in Charlotte. I'm just
protesting. I think they launder money for the Illuminati or
something. Little known fact is that Hugh McColl was in fact a
conspirator in the Kennedy assassination. I mean, you didn't hear that
from ME, but it's true. Suffice it to say, I'll use my paycheck for
toilet paper before I send it to Bank of America.

Which reminds me of the bathroom at Loki.

I had mentioned to someone that there's no indoor plumbing at Loki. It's
true. You take a key that is clipped to the hockey stick leaning up
against the wall by the front door, walk out that front door, across the
quad, and use that key to unlock the bathrooms. At least once a day
someone forgets to put the key back, and a small outburst of hysteria
erupts in the office. That's unimportant, but I just wanted to clear up
that we do NOT have an outhouse, we just need to go to a different part
of the building to urinate.

BUT--the damned thing has those stupid automatic lights in it. You know
the type. The friggin' things sense movement and activate, so as you open
the door, the lights turn on. When you leave, after a few minutes of no
movement in the bathroom, the lights turn back out.

So I'm sitting on the toilet the other day, working on some code (isn't
this technology gone horribly awry?), and the stupid lights go
out. There's no sensor in the stall. I know this, for in a brief panic, I
waved my arms around hoping it would trigger the sensor. It did not. I
took a roll of toilet paper and winged it over the stall door, hoping it
would register as movement. It did not. I thought briefly about raging
against the dying of the light, and just continuing on as if nothing had
happened. After about thirty seconds I had thoughts of cockroaches, rats,
and other things that come out in pitch darkness crawling on my ass, and
seeing as I was likely to be eaten by a grue, I decided to wrap up my

...and then I realized I had thrown the only roll of toilet paper out of
the stall as a sensor grenade. And just earlier this day I had parted
with my paycheck.

So imagine me, crawling around in pure darkness, using the laptop screen
as light to find the roll of toilet paper. With my pants down. The stupid
light sensor was around the corner, so even when I humbled myself to
leave the stall, the friggin' lights didn't come back on.

In the future, I will reserve my deeper thinking for less
technologically-inclined bathrooms.

But what I wanted to talk about is the post office. I think Christmas is
actually held on January 19th out here, since the line that started at
the desk litterally went out the front door. Something must have been
going on that day. A holiday or whatnot...everyone had a massive box to
mail. This must be why postal employees shoot their bosses...too much
work all day long. Either that, or Sam works nights at the post office,
and drives the other employees over the edge.

By the way, did you know that dentists have the highest suicide rate of
any profession? It's true. And probably half of them off themselves while
waiting in line at the post office. Man, this place might beat
Jack-in-the-Box for depressing atmosphere. Then again, Jack-in-the-Box
has better commercials; I've never heard the United States Postal System
use the word "lesbian" on television.

Alright, enough typing. Xwrits just triggered, and it's WAY past my


written 2000-01-21 12:56:52

>      Perhaps this is the Ryan that is sending me all this mail about
> your cross country tour.  If I've reached the right person...kindly
> delete me from your blind copy mailing list.  To be quite honest I
> don't really have the time nor care about the cross country map
> tour.....I would imagine most people on it don't.

Mr. Hicks:

I can understand that you wouldn't have an interest in my travels don't know me. At least, I've never heard of you. AND i
would happilily remove you from my list, but you aren't on it. Perhaps
someone is forwarding the mails to you? Forward one of "my" emails to
this address, and I'll help you sort out where it came from, but I
promise I'm not just randomly mailing people...and I'm sorry you're
getting these against your will.


[Ed.-- I never got another response from this guy. (*shrug*)]

a brief carpal tunnel interlude
written 2000-01-23 02:23:34

I was going to write today about my medical benefits agent, as there's a
lot of comedy in that, and I did. It's sitting in a text file on my
laptop. I'll send it out tommorow. Today I want to talk about, hopefully
for the last time, my wrists. They hurt. Still.

I know of at least one person on this mailing list that is having wrist
pain...I dunno if his is carpal tunnel syndrome or not. The fact is that
like 70% and higher of the wrist pain cases in the computer industry just
simply are not carpal tunnel syndrome. That's not denial on my part,
btw. Frequently it's tendonitis or something else.

I started typing this email on a Kinesis brand keyboard. It was a
brilliant design that is completely useless to me. There's a picture of
it at ...this thing costs more
than 250 dollars. Unbelievable.

Again, this keyboard can help a lot of people, I'm fairly certain. A lot
of people also learned at some point to touch-type. I never did. After
spending about 15 minutes trying to write a small paragraph to Kara, I
gave up on this thing. Which is a shame, because not only does it rest
your hands in a really good "natural" position, but it really alleviates
the need almost entirely for any kind of hand movement (the space key is
hit by your right thumb and the backspace is your's
wild.)...largely I've discovered that my modified hunt-and-peck typing
style (which is completely undistinguishable from real typing after all
these years) fails miserably on this thing.

First, my hands come to rest at an offset of one from the "home
row"...that is, my left hand hits capslock (or whatever), A, S, and D
instead of A,S,D, and F, whereas my right lands on K, L, ";", and
"'" instead of J, K, L, ";"'s completely subconscious.

Furthermore, I hit the T key with my right hand half the time, and the
"Y" key with my left more often than not...since these keys are in the
wrong "bowl" for those hands to hit them, I find myself trying really
hard not to reach across the keyboard for them. This makes this keyboard
instinctually impossible for me to use.

Ironically, I find my posture getting worse as I lean forward to try and
see into the curves and see where the key I want to hit is located.

At any rate, I really wanted that keyboard to solve all my problems, but
alas, it will not.

But a word about my posture; it is absolute horrible. Any one that's seen
me in person already knows me to be completely slouched over anyhow, but
that only worsens at the computer. I hunch over the keys, rest my wrists
on the table (which bends them at a decidedly awkward and unhealthy
angle), and type by twisting my wrists from a bad angle to a distinctly
worse one, depending on what I'm trying to do.

My quick fix (which I had never thought of before I just typed that last
paragraph) is to move the keyboard to the edge of the table. This
prevents me from resting my wrists down, which in itself makes me adopt
the more ergonomic stance of typing above the keyboard, much like a
piano player...uh, plays. It also forces me to lean back a little more,
improving my posture. Knowing me, the chair will just slide back
subconsciously and I'll slump forward to type like the Hunchback of Notre
Dame again.

Also, prime suspect #1 (er...besides the last 7 months of 12-hour
development days) is my laptop. Sony VAIO's a tiny little
grasshopper, for those that haven't seen it, but it is MURDER on my
wrists, usually because of where I use it as much as the miniscule
keyboard and mousepad positioning.

Oops, there goes Xwrits. More in a second.

Anyhow, other stuff. Today I checked my balance with 1-800-WACHOVIA, and
I'm down to 98 bucks in checking. This means they received my
check. Good. So I verify who cashed what, and find that one of the bills
was paid. That means the checks have also hit town. Good.

Of course, if the 40 dollar bill is the only one paid out of 386 bucks
worth of paycheck, where's the rest? Apparently Wachovia changed my
account (since I'm no longer a student) to no longer have overdraft
protection. Which is fine, if you ask me. The assumption is that if I
don't have the money in my account, my Visa check card should then just
decline to process a purchase. Cool. Before, it would process it, the
overdraft protection would dump 200 bucks in the account, and I'd have X
days to pay that 200 off and I'd be fine.

But my assumption is incorrect. Here is what ACTUALLY happens:

I make a 5 dollar purchase on my card (for example), and my checking
account can't cover it. Wachovia pays that five bucks, and charges me 28
bucks in fees. Seeing as all my gas and hotel rooms were on this card to
get here, I have at least 5 (and maybe more) overdrafts on my account.

So, unbeknowest to me, I spent about 140 or so bucks of my first paycheck
here at Loki on overdraft fees. Thanks a million, Wachovia.

By the way, no one directly told me they had changed my account...some
telephone operator at one point several months ago, said she was
"updating my record," which I assumed meant updating the telephone number
and address, since I had moved. Can I sue for this?  :)

So the short of it is that either the phone bill or the cable bill will
clear, but not both. Unless the overdraft thing "works" and I just pay an
extra 28 bucks at my leisure to keep the power running.

This is also assuming that the mail got in before the due date. Ugh.

I'm done bitching, now. Tommorow's update will actually be funny, I
promise.  :)


your moment of zen.
written 2000-01-27 14:30:06 know how local and national governments allocate funds every year
to spend on education of the population in regards to the most important
issues?  D.A.R.E. is an example of this.

On the way to work work today, on the back of the bus that was in front
of me was an advertisement. It featured a picture of a pair of hands in
handcuffs, and the text:

"'She looked 18', is not an excuse."

Oh, my.


I'm on my way...New York, New York...
written 2000-01-30 21:05:08

...bedtime, and then a plane ride to New York City. More details en


day one.
written 2000-02-03 06:52:49

(I'm a little behind, here.)

Greetings from the city that never sleeps.

I'm in the New Yorker hotel, on the 23rd floor. Not too shabby.  :)

There's three of us in this suite: myself, Jim, and Andy. Andy's our QA
guy at Loki (for a description of his job, check out "QA Confidential" at, and Jim is...I -THINK- he's a programmer,
since he did most the work on the Heretic II port, but he doesn't like
programming anymore, so he's doing the trade shows, now. This is his
first trade show, and it hasn't even started yet and he's hating it. He's
not long for this profession, I think. More about that later.

We left Orange County yesterday around noon from (no kidding) John Wayne
Airport. Our flight was scheduled for departure at 12:10. I managed to
drag my butt out of bed around 10:45 and get in the shower.

Hey, if you've never missed an airplane, you're spending too much time in
the airport.

So Lance, Loki's VP, comes and gets me around 11:30. We then swing by to
get Andy, who is flipping out, since it's now 11:55. The airport is about
15 minutes away, but Lance seemed unconcerned. We made it there in
roughly 4 minutes, total. And while I appreciate maniac drivers, I think
it's important to note that Lance said he was taking it slow.

So we cruise into the airport, and hop on our flight. Three hours later
we're recharging our laptops in the airport terminal in St. Louis, and
three hours after that, we're cruising into La Guardia airport.

Jim is from New York originally. I don't mean some suburban, richy-bitch
part of New York; I talking about friggin' Queens. So the second we start
breathing New York city air, he turns into the power-New Yorker. He's on
his cell phone trying to get a car to pick us up, and he's cursing at the
luggage, and he's actually suddenly (re)developed a New York accent. After
hanging up on the car people (with a little curse), he tells us that it
would take too long to get the actual car out there, so being a New Yorker,
he flipped his phone the figurative bird, and then hailed a cab.

New York City apparently contracted with a bunch of famous people to
record sound bytes for the taxis. When you start your ride, a recording
of a famous person tells you to buckle up, and at the end of your ride
tells you to get a receipt.

Our sound byte was from Issac Hayes. Imagine how it feels to hit a big
city like New York and be effectively greeted by South Park's Chef.

So we get to the hotel, and after a small credit card problem, find our
way to our suite, drop our luggage, and hit the town.

We headed for Times Square, got some food, and went to bed. Saw on the
ABC news ticker that a plane had crashed outside Los Angeles. No, I
wasn't anywhere near that airport. Thanks for worrying, though.  :)

The next morning, we dragged ourselves over to the Javis center for the
expo setup. This is wierd, since the place was a barren warehouse when
the day began, and looked damned polished and professional by the time we

But when I'm standing in line to get my exhibitor's badge ("Ryan Gordon,
Hackmaster, Loki Entertainment" ...I had my for
"programmer"...ugh), I see this lady who I swear used to work at
Youcentric, my previous's then that I remember they are
actually one of the exhibitors at this show (which is strange, since they
aren't a Linux shop...they do Java that happens to run on Linux...largely
thanks to me. Pfft.)

I wonder if they've noticed I'm still using their phone card. today I sneak up behind Brett (one of Youcentric's hackers) and
say, "so you finally got this thing to support more than two users at
once, huh?"

And he jumps. Whoa, strange dude in a hockey jersey that knows our
product is a poor performer...uh oh. Oh, it's just Ryan. Whew.

So he fills me in on Youcentric. Apparently there was a small developer's
riot, and they've decided they aren't working 14 hour days anymore, so
they're gonna slow down and do their code right. This is probably not
going to fly, since they signed FedEx to a > 3.5 million dollar contract,
so the pimps that run Youcentric are probably going to slap their bitches
around, and make 'em bring in more C-notes. I mean, business as usual.

Anyhow, I've met a WIDE variety of people here. Mostly strange. I'll tell
y'all about it tommorow, but I'm tired after pitching Quake all day.

Hell, pimpin' ain't EASY, dawgs.


If Gatsby were a technogeek...
written 2000-02-18 13:44:52

It's been awhile. Sorry, everyone.  I've been alternately busy and
exhausted, so I haven't been writing. Furthermore, Netscape decided to
eat a bunch of my email (and I don't even USE Netscape as an email
client!), so if you haven't gotten a response to a letter...sorry.

So let's catch up on my time in New York. Stop me if you've heard this.

First things first. I need to talk about Slashdot weenies.

Slashdot is a website, (  "News for nerds. Stuff
that matters.") full of geeky stuff. Probably everyone that reads this
site is VERY fanatical about technology and/or buys our
games. Conversely, a lot of them are young and/or stupid.

There are people that were considered geeks in high school, and many of
them have either become rich in the computer industry or gunned down
their fellow students before graduation. Lots of the people who frequent
Slashdot fall into a sad third category: The Lusers. (I guess that's
short for "Lame User," but it's a frequent term, whatever the exact
definition might be.) Think of the jackasses that didn't shower much, and
didn't understand about computer technology so much as they played a lot
of Nintendo. Potentially (but not necessarily) smart yet irreparably
socially underdeveloped lifetime 15 year-olds: Slashdot weenies. You know
the type. Everyone knows a Slashdot weenie...Frequently Slashdot weenies
start out using Windows, but graduate onto using Linux, and find
instantly that this admits them access to a fraternity of angry holy
warriors that have nothing better to do than fling insults at Microsoft.

(Hint to any potential Slashdot weenies: Microsoft doesn't care.)

The reason I tell you all this is that had a booth at
LinuxWorld. Not really a booth, but a stage. And there were Slashdot
weenies gathered about the area, wearing #!/usr/bin/perl t-shirts and
crying out for death to Sun Microsystems for their mishandling of
Java. (Bernd calls these guys the "GNUjaheddih." I'll explain that
later.) Some, from what I could tell, CAMPED in front of this stage all
weekend on the beanbag chairs that were placed in front of it.

Why? To worship Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda and Jeff "Hemos" Bates.

Rob and Jeff are about the same age as me. They run Slashdot. They're
worth probably a few million dollars, now, since bought
Slashdot, and VA bought Andover.

Good for them. But they are just guys, and (at best) technology
journalists of questionable ethics. Still, lusers hang on their every
word. In Atlanta last October I watched a guy almost wet his pants when
talking to Rob. It's kinda frightening.

So the whole plane ride and first day of setup for the expo, we all joked
about the imminent arrival of the Slashdot weenies.

And arrive they did. And I discovered very quickly that not only does
Slashdot have Slashdot weenies, but Loki has Loki weenies.

So I spent a good deal of LinuxWorld in the SuSE booth. They wanted
someone from Loki showing off Quake III running with their software
underneath, so that duty fell to me. And what I discovered is that most
people that wandered by, even if they don't play games, still found
conversation about the technologies and what Loki does to be
interesting. So that was cool.

However, the lesser humans, the Loki weenies, have a different slant on
communication. This one guy came up to me, saw I was wearing a Loki
shirt, and (no shit) dropped to his knees saying "I worship you guys."


So I'm like, "Get up, kid, I'm not a holy relic."

Other than that, there wasn't too much to the show. Pimp the game, play
the game, piss away SuSE's money, since they were footing the bill for me
being here. And piss it away I did. Nothing really beats a 150 dollar
dinner in Times Square, except for a 150 dollar dinner in Times Square
with a non-itemized receipt.

A little more Linux social commentary: There's a company called LinuxOne,
who is greatly hated in the Slashdot realm, because they are more or less
taking MandrakeSoft's Linux distribution, changing the name on it,
selling it (which is legal in this case, but  unethical)...and they are
going public. Lots of pissed off weenies.

So I got some stickers from the Mandrakesoft booth. Their logo is a
purple top hat on the traditional Linux penguin, so I took one of these
top hat stickers and managed to stick it on the head of the penguin on
the LinuxOne package. I figured it was a political statement. I even
managed to get a picture of it with a digital camera. Figuring this would
be a prime piece of trash journalism for Slashdot, I go running for the stage.

And as I'm about to reach the weenie compound, a guy on stage with a
microphone yells "Holy shit! Ryan Gordon works for LOKI?!"

I look down at my hockey jersey, which is emblazoned with the company
logo in big letters, and wonder how this guy knew my name.

And I look back up to see Emmett, one of slashdot's authors. Right about
now I'm considering what a rediculously small world it is, since while I
had never met this cyberspace Emmett, I had met the real life Charles
Emmett Plant, whom I went to junior high and high school with.

Now the Chuck Plant I remember had a huge problem with truth. That's not
to say he's a dirty liar...he's actually a little better and worse at the
same time. It's more like he would construct a fantasy world around
himself. He'd tell me that Warner Brothers had hired him to do cartoon
voices, and that he did the music for the video game Wolfenstein 3D. This
was in 8th grade. Ironically, years later, -I- was the one who eventually
did some work on Wolf3D. I've met others in my life that have this same
pathological need to make stuff up. This doesn't bother me, because if
you can distinguish truth from lie, it all adds up to a good story,

Anyhow, here he was walking off the Slashdot stage (and if he had ever
told me he works for Slashdot I'd've assume it to be a fib), and we're
walking towards the Loki booth, and he's telling how he's known Scott
Draeker for years, and Michael Vance (a programmer at Loki) and he used
to hang out in Philly, yadda yadda yadda...and I'm thinking that I
haven't seen this guy in six years and he's already spinning a fantasy
world for me.

So when we get back to the Loki booth, the first thing Scott Draeker does
is say, "Emmett, where've you been?" And tosses him a Loki jersey that
says, sure enough, "EMMETT".

Whoa. I'd've expected Chuck to be living in a gutter somewhere,
roleplaying and avoiding showering for weeks at a time. Or to be dead. Or

As of that Thursday morning, when VA Linux Systems announced they had
purchases, this guy who dropped out of tenth grade was worth
over a quarter of a million dollars. I would have never predicted that
Chuck would stumble into the role of the geek who became rich at 23 for
being a technology advocate at the right place and right time.

Some of the people on this list actually know Chuck through various
channels. For those people, I will pause now to allow you to clean up the
shit in your pants.

Oh, and your moment of Zen: "Blame Canada," the song from South
Park: Bigger, Longer, and up for an Oscar. Best original
song. I read that on Slashdot. Hah.

I will wrap up the New York stuff next time, and again, sorry to those
that haven't gotten responses to email. I am reading them, but I've been
somewhat overwhelmed. Keep writing.


written 2000-02-18 17:07:16

As far as I can tell, in Orange County, it's easier to purchase a firearm
than it is to rent a post office box.

That is all.


Your moment of Zen...
written 2000-02-26 17:28:10

...the Dave and Busters in Irvine, CA has a wall of autographs from
famous people that have eaten there. One of them reads as follows:

"Screech got drunk here!   --Dustin Diamond"


Finally, finally, finally. A New York finale.
written 2000-03-03 03:34:31

...for those that missed this fact, I'm in Charlotte, and I am kickin' it
in Skyland with a glass of Sweet Tea and a plate of biscuits while I type
this. Across from me are a bunch of dancers and bouncers that just got
off work at one of the strip clubs down the road. I always liked Skyland,
because I imagine this is what Jerry Springer's dressing rooms look like.

Ah, the Progressive New South.

But first, let me wrap up what happened in New York really quickly. See
how behind I am?

Uh, let's see...what wasn't computer geeky, yet still worth mentioning? I
almost got into a fight with the Teamsters at the convention center,
since I broke into the storage area to get Loki's boxes during the
breakdown. Apparently we aren't allowed to move our own boxes, since
otherwise, these poor teamsters would have no reason to live. After the
second trip back to the storage area, some painfully urban union boss
caught me lifting a cardboard box...which is apparently intolerable to
these guys. I was escorted back to the show floor by two goons and the
ghost of Jimmy Hoffa.

Hours later, after being the last exhibitors to get our boxes (don't piss
off Teamsters, because they WILL beat you), we packed up and headed to
dinner. In a stretch limo. You can buy ANYTHING for dirt cheap on the
streets of New York. For thirty bucks, seven of us rode in comfort to
Chinatown. We thought it was the Chinese New Year...apparently we were a
few days early, so instead of arriving to see dragons and fireworks we
arrove to see the same filthy city as elsewhere...with a little more

With the exception of Jim, who considers everything past New Jersey to be
"out west," none of the other Loki guys understood the principle of
eating chinese food in New York City. There are NO restaurants that sit
you down, take your coat, give you a nice pot of tea,'d be
lucky not to catch a disease in most of them.

That is, unless you know the correct process for selecting a
restaurant. There's two steps to this process:

1) Find the restaurant with the most rediculous name. Chances are they
know nothing about American advertising, which means they probably know
how to cook up a storm. So avoid places with names like "China
Delights" and "King Tien's Oriental Palace", and look for something more
along the lines of "Happy Duck Chinese Food." Remember to distinguish
between poor grammar and an absurd name...this is a common mistake made
by first-time visitors to Chinatown.

2) If in doubt, ask a cop. Police in New York know full well that their
badges label them as tour guides for Out-of-Towners. If you watch NYPD
Blue, you would think this would piss them off, but it doesn't, since you
will probably be the only person in the course of the night that will
talk to them like a human being, and you will DEFINITELY be the only one
that talks to them with respect.

The cop we asked had the THICKEST Bronx accent I have ever heard. This
guy was a Pizon, through and through. So it shouldn't come as a surprise
that his response was, "I don't eat no chink food. But there's a GREAT
Italian restaurant right down that road..."

For the life of me, I can't remember the name of that restaurant, but it
was the best food I think I've ever had. I've never been grateful for
cops before.

At dinner we discussed the upcoming expos we would be attending. Among
them is the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or "E3" for short. The reason
I bring it up is this: Unlike LinuxWorld, it's a show dedicated to video
games, and nothing but video games. Seeing as this is the case, the main
clientele for this show are horny young men, that do nothing all day but
jockey their to speak. Since the main characterics of this
demographic are hormones and a short attention span, it follows naturally
that every company with a booth at E3 is going to need SOMETHING to catch
their eye and hold onto it like a bucking bronco for as long as possible.

The solution: Booth babes.

If you've never heard that term before, the plan goes something like
this: a couple of days before the show, the town is stripmined for
beautiful girls by game companies. They hire every stripper, exotic
dancer, prostitute, and catholic school girl they can, dress them up like
Laura Croft, and plant them in the company's booth. The girls are
effectively paid to be dick magnets.

If I'm not mistaken, E3 takes place in Las Vegas, so no worries: this
will be decidedly not the most gaudy display of sexual exploitation in

Still, not to be outdone, Loki has already hired a booth babe. Her name
is Asia. Asia Carrera. She's a porn star. I've already seen the Loki
jersey with her name on it.

I thought I might do some research about her and see who I'll be hanging
out with during E3. After punching "Asia Carrera" into a 'net search
engine, I expected to get about 8,000,000 pages of results.

Fortunately, the first one on the list was
...who says domain-dipping doesn't work?

So apparently we've hired a computer geek porn star...which seems
appropriate to me. She runs her own website and writes the HTML by hand.

Oh, and she's been in over 300 porn movies. I am alternately impressed
and repulsed by this fact.

Anyhow, I'm in Charlotte for the week, so I'll probably see a lot of you
mailing list folks soon, if I haven't already. And, since I'm not hacking
video games and map editors (much) this week, I'll actually be able to
REPLY to email. Oooh...


written 2000-03-03 06:16:42's the thing for Freshmeat...

The official HOWNOTTO.

  So, you've found your niche in the open-source world, and now you want to be
noticed? You're producing cool, original, K-rad elite apps, and you want to
get the recognition you deserve? There's can only be one solution: FRESHMEAT.
  Many Linux folks who know how to program, and many more who don't, post their
offerings to Freshmeat everyday, so if you desire acknoledgement, you darn well
better start placing announcements for your own 0-day Linux Warez here, too.
However, it's never wise to dive in without knowing what you're doing, so here
are some simply guidelines to help you get the most out of your Freshmeat
experience. In honor of the Linux Documentation Project, we'll call this the
"Freshmeat HOWTO."
  Remember that it is important to announce early, and announce often on
Freshmeat. Adding a new #include line to your program is usually all the
reason you need to make an announcement. In fact, most programs contain less
code when they are labelled version 0.0.1 and posted. With just this much, you
are certain to get lots and lots of capable programmers to contribute to your
infant project. After all, there's nothing like a blank slate to call a throng
of rootless hackers to your aid. All coders are really just looking for a home,
and you are providing them one in your new project. So go forth and announce.
  Didn't get the overwhelming response to your project that you expected?
That's okay. Sometimes hackers get overwhelmed by a busy day of trolling at
other websites. This has become less of an issue since turned off
the user-comment feature, but still, the inherent human right to talk about
Natalie Portman and repeatedly try for a "first post" can eat into one's
productivity, and cause the exhausted hacker to miss a few Freshmeat postings.
Therefore, you must simply make more annoucements. Make two or three a day. Go
ahead; bandwidth is cheap, and chances are you still won't generate more
daily announcements than the Linux kernel.
  It is also important, when submitting applications to Freshmeat, to have a
good name for the program. Remember that the Linux community doesn't need
any advertising, so there's no need to waste those precious Perl-coding brain
cells on a marketable name. To simplify the matter, the Linux community has a
naming scheme that it borrows from a system known as "hungarian notation."
  Follow this simple algorithm: Is your program GNOME-based or KDE-based?
Prepend a 'g' or 'k' to the name, respectively. If it is not specific to
either environment, graphical apps may usually prepend an 'x'. Java apps may
use 'j', with written permission from Sun Microsystems. Database-related code
may use "sql". Some other important letters are 'e' for Enlightment-related
programs, 'z' for compression algorithms, and 'b' for BeOS apps. You thought
all those hours of watching Sesame Street were a waste, didn't you?
  To make your application truly cool, what you really need is a RECURSIVE
acronym. You get bonus points for using the word "not" in the name, too. Some
examples of this are "GNU's Not Unix", "Pine Is Not Elm", "Wine Is Not [an]
Emulator", and "Linux Is Not Useless [without] X-Window."
  Contrary to what was stated previously, it's important to note that the 'G'
in "GNU" does NOT stand for "Gnome". It doesn't stand for anything. This is
merely a necessary evil in the Linux Application Naming Scheme.
  Numbers are also permitted. Following the lead of artists such as MC Hammer,
the Video4Linux and ISDN4Linux projects have made the replacement of words
with their phonetically equivalent numerics an acceptable practice.
  After you've selected all the letters that relate to your program, pick a
simple word (try to avoid words that contain vowels, as vowels generally are
frowned upon in Unix circles), and prepend the letters to it. A good example
is a GNOME-based, database-enabled program for caching webpages. It might be
named something like "gsql4httpBy". Note that 'y' is not considered a vowel
in all situations, so this is a valid name for your new program, even though
it isn't a cool recursive algorithm. This will give the whole of the Linux
community all the information it needs about your app.
  Since you've expertly encoded all the relevant information about your
project in its name, there's really no need to fill out that section in the
appindex entry labelled "description." In fact, this was placed there merely
to satisfy those without the creativity to come up with a decent project name.
Since you are capable of producing a proper name in the first place, you may
use this section to give a shout out to all your homies. An example is:
  "Yo, wassup from the PhreakMaster?! Yours truely, Sir Cracksalot, is
bestowing onto you all this 37337 new demo app. I wanna give some props to my
buds in #visualbasic, Linux Torvalds (you kick b7tt, dude!), Loki 4 giving me
stuff to pirate, and 'A' through 'F' in the phone book."
  Versioning schemes are important to consider. Gone are the days of DOS where
programs used a MAJOR.MINOR versioning scheme. After all, why be so direct as
to increment the minor number for bugfixes, and the major number for new
features? Where's the DRAMA in that? Also gone are the days of Windows, where
programs start at 1.0 and never, codewise at least, make it much further. Linux
programs are versioned as a fraction of one, and as they travel towards
perfection, they get closer to being an integer. The astute reader has already
figured out that this means Emacs must clearly be the perfect program, since
it's version is currently much, much greater than one right now.
  But hey, at least we haven't adopted the Solaris versioning system. This
means that Linux programmers do not need an advanced degree in calculus in
order to write applications. This has helped jumpstart the Linux application
market. Thanks to this easing of the programmer's burden, you can get on
Freshmeat any day of the week and see a proliferation of IRC clients and
Napster clones available for download.
  Which brings us to the point of cross-pollination. You might be thinking
that you are now ready to hack some code and submit it to Freshmeat, but golly
gee, whatever should you work on?  You could perhaps find a lacking feature in
Linux and implement it, or find a radical new concept and make it a reality.
But, until you've been in this business as long as Stallman, you probably want
to take it easy and hone your hacker skills. Clearly, the best way to do this
is to reinvent the wheel.
  Is there a cool KDE application? Rewrite it from scratch with the GTK+
toolkit. Don't contribute enhancements to the existing project. Don't even
evaluate their codebase for potentially reusable code; that goes against the
spirit of COMPETITION. You need to write something...cooler. Is there a Java
version, yet?  Rewrite it.  What about a console version?  Rewrite it. A
applet? Rewrite. An EPPLET?  REWRITE. A pure assembly version? RE. WRITE.
Make sure that every program exists for every possible user's exact
configuration. We are talking about the very soul of user friendliness here!
Also try not to forget about BSD, BeOS, OS/2, and...uh, Windows. Remember that
rewriting is always a more creative process than porting, and there's nothing
more imporatant in mental health than a creative outlet. Doing a search on the
appindex for "icq" will demonstrate how popular this method of project
development/psychotherapy can be.
  For those that aren't inclined towards end-user applications (those pesky
user interfaces!), you may also delve in at a lower level. There are many
libraries that need to be cross-bred. Do you like SDL? You can help make sure
it can use GGI, SVGAlib, X, FBcon, and AAlib as video backends. BUT -- does
GGI have an SDL backend? Is anyone working on linking clanlib into this? And
you can help make sure that clanlib can use DRI. And DRI should be able to use
SDL as a backend. You should be able to link all graphic libraries together so
they can call each other in a perfect zen-like circle. Remember that Linux is
not complete until every possible graphic library is really just wrapping every
other one. Compatibility is key, here. And don't forget sound APIs; I haven't
even mentioned OSS, ALSA, and ESD, yet. Look at all the work we have to do!
  So, with this preparation added to your programming toolkit, you can now
submit your applications to Freshmeat with confidence. Get hacking.

After years of being oppressed by the computer industry, Ryan is coming out of
the closet; he was an English major in college. He can be found sleeping on
Scott Draeker's laundry room floor, or alternately at

The cluestick beats the air-travellers...
written 2000-03-05 07:10:03

...I wanted to put down, for posterity, some previously unwritten laws of
airline travel.

- You can tell a lot about a city by the type of people that hang out in
its airports. Atlanta has beautiful people. Philadelphia has ugly
people. Everyone in Los Angeles International looks like a cheap
whore. Look around next time; everyone in a given airport fits the same's almost eerie.

- The security measures taken in airports are a fuckin' joke. There's
just no nice way to say this. If I really wanted to blow something up,
I'd go to an airport. This replaces my previous choice for worst
security; now, if I had a destructive urge, I'd hit an airport BEFORE I'd
attempt it at a public high school. Really, the whole thing runs off the
convenience and whim of the airport staff.

- It's important to not show up too early. We don't want to crowd the
airports. Showing up more than ten minutes before your flight is
unnecessary. Afterall, you don't want to waste your valuable time sitting
in an airport terminal. And besides, running for your departing gate is
good exercise. Which brings up our next point:

- You WILL inevitably be departing from the gate that marks the furthest
point from where you are currently standing. No joke; I've been flying
for YEARS, and never ONCE has my gate been even the second furthest
away. It's always the furthest. Just deal with it. Furthermore, you will
be in the very back of the plane. Since you are getting on the plane 3
nanoseconds before it takes off, this means you'll be doing some dirty
dancing with at least one Mother Teresa lookalike who can't get her ass
out of the aisle while you try to get your luggage settled and your butt

- Someone is going to be in your seat. Don't be disruptive; steal someone

- Fate has frowned upon you. Inevitably you will either be stuck between
two people that are clinically obese (who will be likely to snore, sweat,
or drool on you during the flight), or you will have the window
seat. Whether you enjoy the view the window affords you or not, one thing
is certain: the other two passengers between you and the bathroom will
sleep soundly for the duration of the flight.

- Don't worry: if you think the food on the flight sucks, it'll be
WONDERFUL compared to the in-flight movie. Will you be seeing "American
Beauty"?  How about "The Shawshank Redemption"?  Nope. The last two
movies -I- saw while airborn were "Crazy in Alabama", which was Antonio
Banderas's directorial debut, and "The Spy Who Knew Too Little", which
was just another nail in the coffin of Bill Murray's career. Do what I do
now: Get a laptop, a fast internet connection, and pirate a movie before
you leave. Watch it instead. I've got the entire South Park movie sucking
up over a gigabyte of my hard drive. It's a bootleg stolen by some guy
going into a theater with a video camera. I can't identify the language
the subtitles are in. But it's still better than watching Antonio try to
recreate Citizen Kane.

- Airlines have a sort of contagious financial vampirism. Not only are
they going to RAPE you for cash every chance they get, but every business
within a five mile radius will do the same. I blame the business class,
yuppie motherfuckers for this one; if people willingly pay rediculous
prices, then the prices willingly stay rediculous. USAir will rent you
headphones, to listen to the movie...for five bucks. FIVE?!  You really
want me to PAY you so I can watch this PUKE you call a MOVIE? Fuck
you. Hint: Regular headphones work, too. You probably have them anyhow,
since you brought your own movie to watch. And don't even DREAM of using
that phone in the seat in front of you if you ever want to put your child
through college. Anything in or near the airport has this problem. Parking.
Shuttles. Restaurants. Bars. Prostitutes. Beggars. Overpriced, every one of
them. The fact they don't charge you for the crappy packet of peanuts is
probably due to a federal regulation.

- Speaking of federal regulations, does anyone REALLY believe that all
these safety instructions are going to help you in the event of a
crash? A jet plane is effectively an attempt to test the laws of
physics; you are, more or less, strapping enough force to a lump of steel
to propel it through the air. If you have 100 really light passengers,
you've added at least another 10,000 pounds to this lump. This isn't even
considering the absurd amounts of luggage all these richy-bitches are
carrying. Therefore, if this vehicle decides to stop propelling itself,
it's going to hit the ground. And YOU are GOING to fucking DIE. There's
just no way around it. You might as well fire up that pirated South Park
before the safety lecture is over. No one else is listening, either.

- Light a match at 30,000 feet. See how obnoxious that is? Still wonder
why smoking was REALLY banned on flights?

- You will be required to keep your tray down for most of the flight,
since the stewardesses will patiently ignore all your attempts to hand
them your empty cup and the foil wrapper from your honey-roasted peanuts.

- Beyond the peanuts, on longer flights you might get a meal. Chances are
you will have a choice of meals: chicken or fish. Anyone who's seen
"Airplane" knows better than to choose the fish. If they're out of
chicken, then just starve. Hey, how come they never show "Airplane" as
the in-flight movie? I'd pay for the headphones for that one...

- You are going to want to minimize the restriction of blood
flow. Recline your chair as soon as federal regulations deem you
worthy. Still, you're first reaction to the person in front of you doing
this will always be annoyance.

- Oh, if you really do bring the laptop, bring an extra battery. There
won't be an outlet to plug it in, or the supplied outlet will require
some Martian converter hoobajoob to operate. Remember that once the
battery fails, you will be forced to view the remainder of "Ernest Goes
to Camp." Come prepared.

- There's no such thing as a steward. Just stewardesses. The existance of
stewards is just a myth invented by the airlines to prevent descrimination
lawsuits. If you ever saw a steward, it was probably just a stewardess
with a horrible, embarrassing deformity.

- Steal EVERYTHING. Blankets. Pillows. Magazines. Take the barf bag. Rob
the drink cart. Cut the cord on the phone that's embedded in the seat and
take the reciever with you. Do EVERYTHING you can to these VAMPIRES to
minimize your financial loss and emotional abuse. Just don't tamper with
the smoke detector in the bathroom: there's a federal regulation against


"I am writing graffitti on your body,
I am drawing the story of how hard we tried."
   -- Ani Difranco.

Italian-American Reconciliation...
written 2000-03-05 11:45:17

A public apology:

For reference, the police man in New York was a "paisan," and NOT a "Pizon."

Please don't kill me, Guido.


Free raisins. (?!)
written 2000-03-12 05:01:34

Hey, y'all.

I sat down and made a brief list of everything I've been meaning to write
about. There's a lot of stuff. It's almost frightening how entertaining
even mundane things can be.

For example, Chad had done his homework; apparently he's discovered that
Orange County is home to about 30 percent of the country's donut
shops. Who knew? Not only do I get the joys of BOTH Circle K and 7-11 out
here, but it IS indeed true; there's a veritable smorgasborg of donut
shops. Many of them are open 24 hours, in order to value-add to the
service of...donut supplying, I guess. Is this not commercialism gone
horribly awry?

Other news: Time Crisis II is no longer my quarter-swallowing
addiction. Since I can beat the whole game with my eyes closed, I've
moved on to other games. I'm now preparing diligently for a life of
second and third mortgages by repeatedly draining my Power Card on
"Silent Scope" (and Silent Scope II, but who's counting?). Also good is
"Crisis Zone," which is basically Time Crisis II with new levels...and a
machine gun. Ho ho ho.

It's odd...the best way to kill your addiction to "kid's stuff" like
video games is to work in the industry. If I never see Heroes of Might
and Magic III again, it'll be too soon. Same holds true for
Civilization...and I only spent about 48 hours hacking at that. If
nothing else, it's driven me away from my desk and back into the
arcades. It's like going back to gang-banging for white boys.

The real news is that tommorow (today?) I'll be moving into my
HOUSE. Actually, not mine; I'll be moving into my ROOM.  That's cool. I'm
only there for about 45 days before I'm out looking for new digs
again. Unless I can convince Daniel to move in here (and convince Lance
to not turn that extra room into an office)'s not a big deal, but MY
GOD...this house is SWEET. I'm going to very thoroughly enjoy crashing
here for the next month and a half. It's a four bedroom number that
looks, inside and out, like a step below the place from Fresh Prince of

...but then again, i'm used to roach-infested shitholes. And screaming
kids at six in the morning, so it could be in South Central L.A., and I'd
still consider it paradise, so long as the only noise before 10:00a.m. is
some gunplay and maybe a screaming crackwhore. Crackwhores don't have the
same vocal range as three year-olds.

This will give me a decent chance to figure out what I still own. Packing
in Charlotte was basically a matter of throwing everything into my car,
so if it isn't in the backpack I've been living out of since January, I'm
probably no longer aware of its existance. More importantly,
claustrophobics will be able to ride in my car again when the piles and
piles of crapola are removed.

Ooh...gotta backtrack for a moment, though. I was in Charlotte last
week. Here's the highlights really quickly:

- Saw two plays: "Death and the Maiden" and "The Effects of Gamma Rays on
  Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds."  (whew!)
- Wrote an article for  Got a lot of hatemail for it. I
  love hatemail.
- Hit Lupie's for MEATLOAF NIGHT.  Don't be fooled; when you leave
  Charlotte, you WILL miss Lupie's.
- Robbed my previous employer blind. More on this in a moment.
- Slept very littled. Hacked quite a bit.
- Saw "Pump up the Volume" for the first time. If anyone blows up an
  plane after reading my last email about airlines, I can be the next
  Christian Slater. Just call me Charles U. Farley.
- Met "Gertrude" at the BareBones cast party. I'll get back to this next email.
- Saw quite a few people on this list.
- Other important stuff that'll hit me as soon as I send this email. I visited my old employer's office suites last Friday. Every Friday
they feed the whole staff pizza so the proles forget how badly they keep
getting fucked by the upper one percent. So I thought it might be funny
to sneak in and steal a box of pizza. I take about three steps towards
the door and my old boss sees me with pizza in hand. He yelps, "Ryan!"

I'm expecting this joke's gone very badly, but the next words out of his
mouth are not, "Security!"  In fact, they are something more akin to
"Thank god you're here...there's some nasty bugs in the Mac code...can
you fix them?"

Here's your job-security tip for the day: Work for a Java-based company,
and be the only guy who knows C. Bonus points if you can pick up PowerPC
assembly language on-the-fly.

With this in mind, I remind him that I don't work for free when I'm
on vacation.

"No, we'll pay you."
"Yeah...but it ain't gonna cover my THERAPY BILLS for having to be
"Fifty bucks. An hour. Under the table."


I mean, damn. I know good prostitutes that don't make that much. So I did
some whoring of my own. For 11 hours. Not a typo. That'll finance the
Palm IIIc that's on it's way to me...can't wait to try and get Eric's
Ultimate Solitaire working on that thing.  :)  This is not overlooking
the fact that this was a paid vacation on top of everything else...oh,
yes. Life is good.

So I gotta go. I need to get a little more Silent Scope in before this
place closes for the night.  Love me some sniping.

More tommorow.


In search of a good subject for rambling journal entries.
written 2000-03-13 01:15:57

Y'know, it's just never too late to look like a punk kid.

I got jumped by two security guards at a mall yesterday, because I was
wearing a trenchcoat. All these security vans swarmed around me in the
parking lot. I had a baseball cap on backwards over my ever-growing hair,
and about an inch of growth on my face, so clearly I must have been
looking to blow something up or rape an old lady or something. Later on,
some guy pointed me out to his friends called out, "Hey, it's Silent
Bob! What's up, Silent Bob?"


I finally made my way to a coffee house out here. The place was called
"Dierdrich's Coffee", and it's kinda like a slightly less yuppie version
of Caribou Coffee. Heaven knows, it's DEFINITELY less suffocating than
your average StarBucks. So I ambled in for a cup o' joe.

For those that aren't ardent coffeehousers, you should understand that
there really is no such thing as a cup of coffee at a coffeehouse. I know
that sounds odd, but it's true. You have to order a cup of Sumatra or
Kona, or find something else that sounds like a breed of pot. ("Yes, I'd
like a cup of Mexican Gold, please.") Other options are Espresso (but not
EXpresso; ordering that is apparently a sign of an amateur), or for the
really brave, a MOCHA LATTE or some crap like that.

Chances are, you can't even get a SMALL, MEDIUM, or LARGE drink; you'll
probably have to ask for a "Venti" or "Grande". I think that's
Italian. Being a stubborn American, however, I find it's best to say,
"just gimme the biggest thing you've got, ya lousy java jockey, and make
it friggin' SNAPPY."

I mean, could you see Sylvester Stallone or John Wayne in one of these
places? Try to imagine The Duke sipping a grande mocha latte and reciting
bad poetry. See? You can't do it. There's just nothing badass about these
places. It is a wonder to me that anyone who frequents coffeehouses ever
gets laid. But then again, we all know this is just a front; after
spending an hour or so being tragically hip artistes, these junior
highschoolers hop in their daddies' convertible Jaguars, throw the black
berets in the back seat, and drive off to the mall to make fun of people
wearing trenchcoats. How trendy.

To make a long story short, I made my way to the counter and got a cup of
Chai. If you've never had Chai, think liquid pumpkin pie. Most decidedly

After deferring my student loans, presenting two forms of identification,
and splitting the bill between my credit card and an I.O.U. signed in my
own blood, I paid for my drink and was ready to take in the atmosphere.

Tonight, like many nights in coffee shops across the country, there was a
band performing. Normally this is enough to make me flee the premises
without so much as a sip of my financial venture, but tonight's
performance was at least a little different from the usual fare of
suffering highschool bands and bad Radiohead covers. This group was
apparently going to perform "authentic" spanish music for our
coffee-swilling pleasure.

Immediately I'm imagining a bad reproduction of The Buena Vista Social
Club, but the music, I can safely say, jammed.

The stereotypes, however, were pretty bad. The lead singer had a
psuedomexican mullet, slicked back AND standing up at the same time. Think
Adam Sandler in "The Wedding Singer", but with more grease. He was
wearing sunglasses at night. I decided that he must be a good singer,
because from the looks of him, he could probably be making better money
mugging people in alleys. I was right; that dude could SING.

One of the guitarists was the standard viejo verde, raised on a healthy
diet of whisky, cuban cigars and whores. His shirt was opened about three
buttons too far to show gray chest hair, and his lips curved into a gaping
smile that displayed teeth that were never quite maintained properly. He
had to be about 20 years older than the rest of them, but you could tell
he never had as much fun in his life as when he was jamming with the

I find that I really like this music, even if for the life of me I can't
understand one word of it.

Other stuff. I'm now in my new house. I'll send my new phone number and
snail mail address tomorrow (hopefully I'll know it by then). My last
official act as a resident of the Draeker house was to pick Scott up from
the airport, where he had just finished speaking at GDC (Game Developer's
Conference? Something like that.) He's thrilled because of some very
important deals that are now in the works, and the majestic reception our
OpenAL library is getting. We spent most of the trip back to his house
discussing what we would do if we could actually get rich off this
business. Some of the better suggestions were "Blow 5,000 bucks on a hand
of blackjack," "light a cigarette off a burning 100 dollar bill," and
"pay to have people that call you 'Silent Bob' killed."

Ah, to dream.


"Where'd you get yer information, huh?
You think that you can front when Revelation comes?"
      -- Beastie Boys.

written 2000-03-14 02:10:11

...87-grade unleaded gasoline ("The cheap stuff") was 1.72 a gallon this
morning. Not a typo. Can anyone beat that?


written 2000-03-14 22:58:34

Hey, y'all.

Greetings from a Palm Pilot IIIc. Using this thing is going to take some
getting used to!

I'm writing this text on a computer that fits in my hand. The way you
enter text on this little device is with a pen-like tool called a
"stylus". There's a little area at the bottom of the screen where you
scribble in a language called "graffiti".  The gist is that you write
invisible letters in this area that seem to me to be a mixture of English
and ancient Greek; indeed, the symbol you write for 'k' is actually a
lowercase alpha. It's very space-efficient; a whole keyboard, including
letters, numbers, punctuation, and foreign characters takes up about
1x1.5 inches.

You find out very quickly how rarely some letters are used, and how often
other ones are...I never realized how many times the letter 'R' comes up
in English until I had trouble writing it.

For certain, there's nothing quite like challenging your basic
assumptions about the alphabet. Or the ability to write e-mail while on
the john. What a tradeoff.

Other than the new horizons, and the fact that this thing has a Java
Virtual Machine and all three Zorks already, there's not much new to
report. Not to mention that it took me about 3.5 eons to write this
much. The things I do for technology.

I'm going to stop promising to write about specific topics on specific
days. I still haven't gotten around to telling y'all about Gertrude at
the cast party.  :)   So, for the time-being, we'll just file such tales
under "for later."


"Let's get together and feel alright..."
--Bob Marley.

Pretty in Pink.
written 2000-03-15 20:22:39

In case anyone was wondering, my research seems to suggest that the most
expensive gas in America can be found at (surprise) DisneyWorld, but
apparently we can't complain too much. Once you take into account the
metric and currency conversions, Germany's got us all beat by a
kilometer: they're closer to US$3.50 a gallon. Ouch. Stephane assures me
that France's situation is simillar, so think about that next time you
roll up to a pump; just say, "at least I'm not in Europe..."  Sorry to
those with a ".de" email address on this list.

Today I recieved an email from my ex-girlfriend's sister. When I say
"ex-girlfriend", in this case, I'm referring way, way, WAY back to those
hideous high school years. And I'm not just speaking of a time
frame. It's also a state of mind: an uninspired, unshowered,
disinterested state of the soul.

Forget about your prom, and that AP exam that you aced. Those happy
moments are more or less accidental. Misery, however, is completely
calculated in high school. Therefore concentrate instead on those moments
of pure rage, frustration, and uselessness that have hardened, darkened,
and defined your demeanor for the rest of your life.

Oh, wait. Maybe you CAN focus on your prom, then.

But let me focus on someone else's prom for a second.

It would have actually been -my- senior prom, but after being coerced
into going to one my junior year, I felt pretty confident I had gotten
all I could out of the experience. I mean, the gig's the same every
year; the only things that change are the styles (but not the
tackiness) of the music and costumes. So if you missed your prom, or just
have a masochistic need to relive it, then fear not. Your local video
store has an ample stock of Molly Ringwald movies available for just this

The reason for my attendence at my junior prom is also the reason I
mention my senior prom. The astute among you have already figured it
out: the ex-girlfriend. To protect the innocent, we'll just create a
false name for her. From here on, we'll refer to her as "Karie".

Karie really REALLY wanted to go to that senior prom. In retrospect, I
don't think this was a "girl thing"...I am willing to believe that Karie
is the only creature on Earth that looked forward to the prom for purely
selfless reasons. Guys would look forward to potential booty, and girls
would look forward to outdoing other girls, but Karie just loved the
thrill of the night. For her, the event wasn't gaudy: it sparkled.

However, there was no way in hell I was going to that prom. None. Threat
of torture, death, and Menudo concerts would not coerce me into attending
this event. It just wasn't going to happen.

But being the modern boyfriend I was, I was willing to compromise. Karie
could go to the prom WITH SOMEONE ELSE. Made perfect sense to me. Sure.

The reason I'm going through this ancient history is because Karie's
sister--remember her?--sent me an email to tell me about Karie's wedding
shower. For those who aren't in the know, she's marrying the guy who she
took to her senior prom. Yes, people like that apparently -do- exist. And
in this case, you don't need to rent a Brat Pack film to see it.

Karie and her fiancee are tying the knot in about two weeks, on
(yikes!) April Fool's Day. And for this, I am filled with an overwhelming

But no, this isn't a scene out of "There's Something About Mary" all
you people that have been keeping a betting pool on me all these years
can put your money away.

My sadness, in all truth, is that the world is growing up around me.

Or maybe the world's growing old around me. Whichever one applies.

Karie is only a few months older than me, and is merely hours away from a
honeymoon. It all seems so foriegn to me. Is this the real world? How
have I sheltered myself from this so effectively? I don't mean marriage
necessarily. Maybe just...maturity?  Getting a bank account is a
terrifying experience for me, so you can bet that Marriage is ranked
right up there with Death in my book. They are things that happen to
"grown ups," a class which I supposedly should be a card-carrying member

I wonder what I did that night while my young destiny was silently being
altered across town at my unattended prom. Did I play Nintendo or work on
some stupid program, without the knowledge that both activities were
subconsciosly preparing me for this life in California? Probably. Nintendo,
programming, and masturbation were my holy trinity of activity.

Okay. Okay. "Young destiny" is a bit much. But I'm a big believer in
chaos theory. I think even the utterly insignificant events have an
incalculable, but nonetheless present, impact on us all. If I had gone to
that prom, or said a few more sweet nothings, or opened up to the
possibility that anyone could have cared half a fuck about my existance,
then who knows? Maybe I'd find myself getting married in two weeks. Maybe
I'd spend my days in Pennsylvania with litters of kids. Maybe I'd even be
content. Or happy.

Isn't it funny? Happiness isn't a boolean state; it's not on or off, like
a light switch. Video-game-hacker-in-California happy isn't the same as
family-guy-in-Pennsylvania happy, but they are both happiness, all the
same. Hhm.

So if any passes this email on to the happy couple (as my emails
apparently have trouble sitting still in people's inboxes), please tell
them that I wish them BOTH the best. And as a wiser man than I once said:

"May you live as long as you like, and love as long as you live."


Where would I be without all my toys?
written 2000-03-17 17:25:23

I am duly impressed. Usually I get about 2 or 3 responses to any given
journal entry on this mailing list, but that last one, "Pretty in
Pink," brought in almost TWENTY responses. Apparently, I hit a real nerve
in a lot of people; my inbox was overflowing with prom night horror
stories, sad tales of love lost, and the nightmare that is The Grown Up

To be less-than-poetic, it was really cool. I feel for you all, and will
be responding to each of you in turn.

But, the need to vent has passed, so we can now get back to the dick and
fart jokes.

But first, one more thing about this Palm Pilot; the writing you do on
it, called Graffiti, is REALLY ADDICTIVE. I tried to write a check today,
and I was writing Graffiti on paper. Instinctually. And I've only had
this thing for four days. Plus, if you can get around the fact that the
'k's look like lowercase alphas, I would say it's vastly improved my
handwriting just that quickly. Creepy.

I'm thinking of putting up a webpage of old journal entries. I'll get
around to it one of these days... the meantime, in case anyone wants to see what I've been working on
at Loki all this time, there's some screenshots of the Heroes III map
editor up at:

[They're gone, now. --Ed.]

Note the files are pretty massive, as I like my big screen
resolutions.  Also try to ignore the "Chef's Salty Balls" track on the
MP3 player in that first picture.  :)

Other than that, I finally shaved off all that facial hair I've been
carrying around. All 12 or so pounds of it. I swear I must have the
weirdest beard in the world; it comes in mostly red--which not the color
of any other hair on my body--but there's also some pure black and some
platinum blonde in it. The only colors that aren't in it anywhere are
green and the hue of the rest of the hair on my head. I must have about
18 or 19 genetic donors standing behind my DNA.

Still, my face is cold now. I wonder if this is how sheep feel.

After 5+ years of putting it off, I've decided to get a full body
checkup. I've got a cavity that I just can't pretend is a little
toothache anymore. That, and I took a close look at my teeth under a
florescent light. Big mistake. Have you ever done this? I don't care if
you're Miss America, looking at your teeth under a florescent light is
always a humbling experience. You might as well guage your attractiveness
by examining your sphincter under a magnifying glass: it's just not going
to go well. Also need to have someone look at my wrists (although they
have somewhat leveled off in irritation, they aren't really improving,
either) and a thousand other deteriorations and betrayals of my body.

So, as soon as I figure out how to set up a doctor's/dentist appointment,
I will be officially submitting myself to pokes, prods, and probing from
strangers that aren't even going to buy me breakfast when they're done
with me.

Finally, I think that subconsciously, frisbee has become the offical
sport of Clan Loki. At the risk of exposure to fresh air, we've stopped
working to play it several times this week...just because. Isn't that so
stereotypically Californian?


Your moment of Zen...
written 2000-03-19 02:11:25 I saw one of those amusement machines where you guide a claw
mechanism around to pick up toys that it probably won't be able to
lift. Y'know, the kind really young children play for 25 cents a try.

On the top of the toy pile in this machine was a stuffed bear, purple,
with a gleeful smile and a big nose. Attached to this bear's hand was a
plastic newspaper with a tiny reprint of the Los Angeles Times front page
from the day Kennedy was assassinated.


The life of an addict...
written 2000-03-19 17:45:09

It's the little things that keep me happy. On Friday I actually found a
Boston Market out here. Oh yes, life is good.

As I found myself irresistably drawn towards an overpriced, undersized,
yet strangely tastey Turkey Carver Combo, I had to pause for a moment and
marvel at the big sandwich board sign in front of the restaurant.

"Flu Shots: $9"

I am standing firm by my belief that advertisements involving disease and
bodily disfunction have a negative consumer effect when placed in front
of a restaurant. You might as well put up a sign that says, "Fresh Ebola
Virus: Come on in!"

Needless to say, I didn't get the flu shot, so the fact that I'm
suffering from the flu right now should come as no surprise.

When I woke up yesterday, I felt like mashed ass. You ever get that flu
that makes it hurt to move your eyeballs? The sort that makes you feel
like the world is going in slow motion? That was me yesterday. Naturally,
my first inclination in my weakened state was to operate some heavy
machinery, so I grabbed the keys to the car. I'd be damned if I was going
to just sit back and suffer, so off I went to Target to get some aspirin.

I now know something very disconcerting about these sort of
megastores: they are all magnets for families with screaming kids. With
the exception of Walmart, which is more like a hall of lost souls,
everything from Kmart to Caldor is like a badly mismanaged day care

My poor, ringing head was numb by the time I staggered up to the
checkout, thanks to the legions of overemotional rugrats screaming,
"MINE!" and other things less intelligible.

I didn't even make it out of the store before I was popping pills like
candy. According to the warning label on the bottle, you shouldn't ever
take more than two of these at a time. But hey, people smoke crack and
shoot heroin into their veins, and live to tell the tale, so if I can't
take three aspirin at once, I must be a lesser human being.

So if y'all never hear from me again, you know what happened: aspirin
overdose. People on this list will forever speak in hushed tones to their
children about, "The Aspirin Guy," and numerous afterschool specials
starring Brian Dennehy will be produced about my tragic tale. Who
knows? Maybe I can even get a miniseries on Lifetime Television.


Some list maintenance...
written 2000-03-19 17:58:19

Some info on this journal mailing list, to keep y'all updated:

...This list is now officially too big for Hotmail. I'll be sending
future mails from my account, so update your
blocking filters accordingly.  :) There is currently exactly 50 people on
the list, which is the Hotmail limit, and people waiting to get on, so
it's got to move. I'm honestly shocked at how many people request this
stuff. And a little flattered, too.

In regards to filters, all list traffic will now have
"[journal]" prepended to the subject (as above), so you can autofilter
the emails into separate folders (or the trash bin, if you like).

An archive of old entries will be going up next week at, in case you want to reminisce or
catch up.

Currently hunting down the following people's email addresses: Chris
Kolobow (he wrote it down for me and I lost it! Damn!), Tony Broadwater,
John Bryant, Michael Prater.

Tell your friends to email me if they want to be added to the list. And,
as usual, no hard feelings if you don't want to be on this list,
either; just drop me a line. In the move to the new email address,
however, I'll assume that people want to remain on the list unless they
speak up...for convenience.

Also, there was a rumor/theory that email addresses on this list were
being harvested by BareBones for spamming purposes. I have checked into
this, and it appears not to be the case. If you get BareBones
advertisements, and don't want them, send a mail to,
and they'll stop sending them to you. There's actually a human being on
the other end of that address, too.

That's all!


testing, 1-2-3...
written 2000-03-25 00:31:01

This is just a test, to see if moving the journal list to this email
address was as painless as a copy from Netscape and a paste to PINE...



Where would I be without sampled noise?
written 2000-03-25 16:31:37

I think Dr. Dre might be the most masterbational rapper of all time.

I don't mean to single the poor guy out; after all, rap in general is just
one big declaration of ego after another. Now, I know what your thinking.
I'm not taking into account that it isn't easy to be dropping phat lyrics
like they was C-notes while all them Gs be biting the goodfellas' style,
yo. Nonetheless, the frequency of self-inflating statements in Dre's
tracks far surpasses your average M.C. battle in the ego department.

I mean, not only has he got the line, "I started this gansta s**t, and
this is the motherf***ing thanks I get?", which seems rediculous enough,
but he also got at least two other songs on the radio right now that
feature other rappers explaining how people need to show Dre more respect
because he's just so wonderful.

Now being a stupid white boy, I just can't grasp the concept of a musician
with a bigger ego than Axel Rose. But it must be possible, since Eminem,
who is both more stupid and more white than I, performs on two of those
three songs. I guess pimping ain't easy after all.

So that's what I've learned, since I never changed the station on my car's
radio after my trip across the country. Apparently, Power 106 "plays all
the phatest hip-hop joints", which apparently consists of three of Dr.
Dre's lyrical circle-jerks, but the real reason I haven't changed the
channel yet is because of the commercials.

Anyone who thinks the Afro-American culture has really advanced past the
absurd minstrel stereotype should stop looking at the Huck Finn past and
examine the Next Friday present. EVERY commercial on this station is like
another episode of Fat Albert's neighborhood. It's pure, unadulterated
Blacksploitation. Everything from the Fat Burger ads to the public service
annoucements: it's the stuff you'd otherwise find on TV between a Hogan's
Heroes rerun and The Price is Right. Y'know, the ads that run around the
time when unemployed people are likely to be on their second beer of the
morning. To me, it suggests that the obvious target market, black people,
are considered by their primary source of radio entertainment to be not
only poor and stupid, but unable to aspire to anything else. And that
basically sucks when you think about it. That's not just because a race is
being spoon-fed a negative self image. If the fact that the spoon-feeding
continues is evidence of anything, the real problem is that the audience
believes that this is all they are capable of achieving.

That being said, this is some of the funniest radio I've ever heard.
Everything from DJ Quik (remember him from "Bitch Betta Have my Money"?)
to the "Thong Song" (you've got to hear it to understand) cracks me up.

In the meantime, I need to invest in my own ethnicity; Wuthering Heights
is demanding my attention. G'night, folks.


Your moment of Zen...
written 2000-03-26 16:35:32

I went to see "The Ninth Gate", where Johnny Depp finally catches up with
his career in Hell. The only redeeming quality of the experience was the
change I got back from my ticket purchase, which consisted of some various
coins and a dollar bill. The dollar bill had a stamp on it, of a thought
bubble from Washington's face that read, "I grew hemp."


An odd turn of events.
written 2000-04-01 18:12:58

I had mentioned before that my ex-girlfriend was getting married on April
Fool's day. Myself not being one to be outdone, I figured I'd beat her to
the punch.

Mailing list, meet my new wife, Sandy. (God, isn't THAT a typical beach
bum name! Oh, i -KNOW- you're not a "beach bum," honey. By the way, no
one likes people reading over their shoulder.)

Since she's watching me write, I guess I have to be on my best behavior
and NOT tell y'all about that birthmark she's got...heheh...the only thing
saving me right now is her wonderment at the word "y'all." It's a southern
thing, I guess.

At any rate, we met about two weeks ago. Ironically, this was when I was
writing that journal entry about the prom and marriage and such. She had
approached me in a restaurant where I was writing it, having noticed the
Linux penguin sticker on my laptop. Conversation ensued, and it's all a
blur from there. Ah, geek girls. Gotta love them.

I figure that not knowing much about your spouse is probably the best way
to get married, anyhow. I mean, you don't really have any expectations
then, right?

Will write more tommorow, but today's been...uh, HECTIC to say the least!


a correction.
written 2000-04-02 15:23:41

First, I'm not married. Sandy doesn't exist. For those that fell for
it (you know who you are), please check the date on emails before you
believe them; April Fools Day strikes swiftly and silently. :)

That said, here's your moment of Zen:

On Friday, I finally took an impulse trip to Laguna Beach. As Route 133
dwindled into a one-lane road, I passed "Auto Dent," an auto body shop
with a sign advertising "The Hand Job."


All art is quite useless.
written 2000-04-05 15:13:08

(The next paragraph should give you an idea of how long I've been trying
to finish this entry...)

For those who missed it, Robin Williams DID sing South Park's "Blame
Canada" at the Oscars. Not only was the performance itself really weak,
but he wussed on his chance to say "fuck" on national television. It's a
shame, since the only time this could have been a bigger score would be
during the Super Bowl half time. After all, how do you threaten Robin
Williams into behaving?

"If you curse, you'll never work in this town again!"


Anyhow. Someone once asked me how you make friends after college. Good
question. Here's my best approximation of an answer, based on a recent
discovery: people are not, on general principle, hostile to strangers.
This comes as a bit of a shock to me, but I think this might just be my
yankee upbringing.

I had made my way back to my friendly neighborhood coffeehouse, where I
was hoping to hear some more authentic spanish music. Unfortunately,
there wasn't a band performing this night, so I resigned myself to a cup
of chai and a quiet hour or so of Java hacking. It was a cool night, so I
meandered outside, planted my butt on a chair, and whipped out the laptop.

It wasn't long before a guy came up to me, having noticed the penguin
sticker on my computer. "Excuse me, are you running Linux on that thing?"

At this point alarms were going off in my head. I was predicting the start
of a Linux Q and A session with some random guy who had heard about it
through USA Today or some other short attention span media pump. So when
the next question this guy asked was, "so it finally has support for the
NeoMagic chipset, huh?" I knew I had stumbled upon a fellow geek.

While we discussed the merits and flaws of the technology, I noticed two
girls sitting down at another table. Both were definitely young; maybe
late high school. And, while it pains me to confess the notion, both were
admittedly very attractive.

I'm certain I had been staring after a while. If nothing else, my rate of
casual glancing was increasing exponentially, to the point where "casual"
was no longer accurate. It's dreadfully embarrassing. I understand, even
without firsthand experience, how every woman must feel. The way you poor
girls are treated in the confines of the male imagination!

In my defense, I'm not the only guy that feels this way. The number of
Oscars that American Beauty won should be evidence of this atrocity; the
male mind longs not just for younger women, but also for this
pornographic concept of "barely legal" flesh.

It might be a grass-is-greener thing. After all, I don't remember the
girls being all that pretty when -I- was in high school. Yeah, there were
pretty girls...but never this many. Seriously. Take a stroll past a public
school next time recess rolls around. Notice anything different from your
secondary educational experience? If you answered "lots of painted
whores," you're probably on the right track.

This leads me to believe that either Darwin was right, and the gene pool
is steadily improving, or the school districts are now putting some magic
pretty-potion in the water supply.

...or I've become a dirty old man. I won't rule that out, either.

The girls were chattering away most energetically. One was of a faint
Mexican descent, both in looks and accent. Her dark, permed hair fell to
the middle of her back. The other's hair was short, and a very light
brown. She wore a bright red blouse, which I discovered exposed her whole
back when she removed her leather jacket.

As I continued hacking, and glancing, I started to wonder how perfect
strangers even hope to initiate a conversation with such a flimsy premise:
no connection, no common ground, just a one-sided, disinterested attraction.

The question answered itself, however, when both girls came and sat at my
table. They wanted to know about the MP3s I was playing, which, coincidentally,
were random Ani Difranco tracks, so at this point I was assuming they were
lesbians. If I had been playing the Indigo Girls I would have known for sure.

After initial conversation ("Hi, we came over here to harrass you."),
introductions were made. The dark-haired one was Sammy, and the one with
the backless shirt was Monya ("rhymes with 'lasagna'.").

After a few more minutes of conversation about everything from cops (Sammy's
father is a cop) to Mormons, these girls asked me if I'd like to go with
them to the beach.

"But I don't know you two at all."
"Is that a problem?"

This is the way a lot of horror films begin. However, this also the way a
lot of pornos start, too.

"Nope, in fact, it's the best reason to do something. Who's driving?"

And, in a flash, we were hurtling down the road in Sammy's car, with
soundtrack to The Matrix blasting from the CD player.

At this point they felt compelled to tell me their last names and some
other identifing info, so I could feel comfortable that they weren't planning
on killing me and quietly disposing of my body at the outskirts of Los
Angeles. I immediately forgot all this info, since it really wasn't going to
help me if I wind up dead anyhow.

We didn't actually make it to the beach, but did eventually wind up at a
bar/club place with an outdoor pool table. The table was pretty much owned
by some local pool shark at the time, so we found ourselves queue up in a
rediculously long line of challengers to the throne. Rather than patiently
wait to get schooled by another Tom Cruise wannabe, we opted to save our
quarters and just head home.

This left Monya without enough excitement for the night, apparently, since
she declared a need to dance when we returned to the car. She said she was
cold and wanted to warm up. I imagined she wouldn't have this problem if she
wore a shirt with a back.

So I got comfortable on the curb and watch two girls reenact a scene from
Dirty Dancing to the beat of the techno track blaring from the car's stereo.

On the ride home, the girls assured me that their little display was not
intended to "tease" me. Oh, yeah, sure.

If the American Beauty theory is true, we need to take it in full. If
Kevin Spacy wanted to nail Mena Suvari, then it important to remember
that innocent little Mena wanted to urge that desire in long as
it remained a game.

Ah, kids.


"This pig works for the mafia,
 making some money off crack,
 but this little pig got caught
 so when he gets to the pen
 it's all about the payback."
      -- Cypress Hill
         (nominee for "best soundtrack to play
          during Quake 3 Deathmatches.)

Shakespeare gets his ass kicked.
written 2000-04-10 13:35:03

Tonight, to celebrate the release of the program I've spent the last few
months working on, I decided to take in a movie. The only thing starting
at 8:00 was "Romeo Must Die", so now I'm eight dollars poorer, two hours
deader, and not the least bit more entertained. The title is similar to
one of the lines in the movie ("Sorry, Romeo, but you gotta die!"), but
other than that, there's absolutely no relation to anything Shakespearean
in this whole film. That's only the tip of the pile of feces that
comprises this movie, though. If you want modern-day Romeo and Juliet,
rent the '96 version with Leo and Claire. If you want GOOD karate (and,
I'm sad to report, better dialog), rent Rumble in the Bronx.

After the credits, as the lights came back up, I gathered up my
smuggled-in snack wrappers and empty Snapple bottle. Among my trash on
the vacant seat to the left was a little, pretty glass pipe, left, I
assume, by the person on the other side of the chair. As I stuffed my
trash into my backpack to conceal it (wouldn't want to get caught with
THAT!), I grabbed the pipe and headed for the first guy I could find
wearing a bowtie.

"Excuse me, do you work here?"
"No, sir, I just wear this bowtie to pick up women."

"I see. Look, I found this ornate paraphenalia that is clearly designated
to aid in the smoking of tabacco products up there by my seat, so could
you be sure it makes its way to the LOST AND FOUND?"

He seemed a little stunned, but I pressed the glass pipe into his hand and
walked away. As I looked back, I saw him sniff the bowl appreciatively,
glance around, and slip the device into his own pocket.

In retrospect, maybe he was just there to pick up women.


...'cause the weasel goes pop.
written 2000-04-16 18:09:40

Today I made an attempt at recapturing my childhood.

I awoke to the sound of a jingling melody wafting through my bed room
window from the street below. It began faintly, and grew in intensity as I
roused from a dead sleep. There are train tracks that run about 20 yards
from my house, and the metallic beasts that grumble over them continually
blare their horns, but I never notice those ever-screaming greetings. Yet,
the synthetic music gently drifting into my room drew me to my feet, and I
was running, dazed and bleary-eyed, down the stairs, lured by instinct
and the Sirens' call.

The Sirens lured me with "Pop Goes the Weasel"; it was the Ice Cream Man.

Having the benefits of longer legs and my own source of income, I easily
outran the other children who had to endure the intolerably infinite wait
for their mothers to retrieve quarters from their purses. I stood in
front of the white truck and gazed slack-jawed at the colorful menu
pasted on the side. Choco Tacos. Fudgcicles. Ice Cream Sandwiches of
various exotic types.

I made my way home with my booty, and discovered how little I actually
like this stuff. As far as ice cream goes, it's all pretty low quality.
Still, it was the principal of the matter; of all the things I grew out
of, willingly or otherwise, chasing down the Ice Cream Man is a childhood
activity that just seems entirely natural at 22. It will probably seem so
at 62, as well.


fun in three dimensions.
written 2000-04-21 17:53:03

This is why I love my job.

I'm digging through the source code to Descent 3, and find there's a
command line option in the Windows-specific portion called, "-rocknride".

What the hell is that?

I start looking into what this command activates, and it appears to be a
game device like a force-feedback joystick or something. Did a websearch
and came up with (surprise)

Go look at what's there.  We're getting one of those on loan for the next
few weeks, so I can implement support for it in Descent 3. Then, we're
gonna see about loading it (compressed air tanks and all), into Andy's
truck to bring it to E3 with us. I'm either going to have a lot of fun,
or lose an eye, or both.



eine kleine nachthacking.
written 2000-04-22 02:43:24

(I figure two journal entries within 24 hours of each other should make up
for the general silence of the list, even if both of them are particularly

Every birthday I like to do something a little illegal. Nothing too nasty,
like gang rape or homicide. Just enough to keep me young.

This actually started several years ago when I mentioned to a friend that
I couldn't legally acquire a set of lock picks. (It's true...possession of
lock picks without a good reason is a felony.) Sure enough, April 22nd
rolled around, and he came up to me and said, "I didn't get you anything
for your birthday."

Then he pushed a set of picks into my hands and concluded, "so get
something for yourself."

The rest is history.

My years of petty thievery may be over, but I'm still in the game, so to
speak. Yes, shoplifters may come and go, but software pirates are forever.
This year, to celebrate my youth, I figured I'd contribute some code to
the LIVID project, who are, against the boundaries of the law, working on
software that plays (and, if used correctly, pirates) DVD movies.

The moral of the story, however, is not to write software when tired. I
didn't manage to get to sleep last night, and must stay up tonight to be
ready to order some Phish tickets when they go on sale at 7a.m. PST.

When you aren't really paying attention, and you're tired enough that
everything is funny (free raisins), you'll review your code later and find
stuff like this:

    surface = SDL_SetVideoMode(desiredWidth, desiredHeight,
                               vidInfo->vfmt->BitsPerPixel, sdlflags);

    if (surface == NULL)
        printf("After spending all day slaving over a hot stove to find the
               " best possible surface, SDL still beat us down like an
               " abusive husband. SDL_SetVideoMode() returned NULL, and
               " then made us to get it another beer from the 'fridge while
               " it continued to watch Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
    } // if

    SDL_WM_SetCaption("Bitch betta have my money.", NULL);


contact info.
written 2000-04-23 02:23:21

More than two months after applying, I finally got my post office box.
Again, it really puts that five day waiting period for firearms in

At any rate, anyone that wants to send love letters, hate mail,
pornography, flowers, postcards, resumes, money, bills, cease and desist
orders, and well-endowed women named "Cassandra" may do so by addressing
them as such:

Ryan C. Gordon
P.O. Box 535
Tustin, CA 92781-0535

I'd give y'all my phone number, too, but I'll be moving again in a week or
two, and I generally dislike phones when they aren't supplying internet


American History WHY?
written 2000-04-29 05:22:16

After several days worth of overdue fees, I gave up on debugging the DVD
player I'm working on, swallowed my pride, and went over to Andy's (The QA
guy) house to watch American History X.

I'm sure you've all heard about the famous "Curbing" scene in this film. I
don't know which bothers me more: the fact that I sat and watched a guy
bite a street curb while Ed Norton stomped his head, or the fact that this
apparently happens frequently enough to merit a nickname.

Regardless of that, the movie kinda sucked ass. It was basically a bunch
of stereotypes, mixed in with some cheap-ass artsy-wanna-be film
techniques, and--of all things--a reaffirmation of the value of rascism
for a finale. Don't that just beat all?

Anyhow, after the film, Andy and I travelled across Orange county to catch
up with his girlfriends.

I say girlfriends, plural, because one is currently dating Andy, and the
other USED to date Andy. I generally make it a point not to bring
different generations of girlfriends together, personally. The LAST thing
I would need is for them to start exchanging premature ejaculation stories
across the table. Hey, let me tell you about the time Ryan let me stick a
broom up his ass! I could sense this sort of psychic communication was
going on across the table, but men, not having the same magical
discussion powers that women possess, can't even send a warning with a
hearty grunt. Andy was just going to have to remain oblivious to the fact
that he was the less-than-mighty protagonist in the sexual Odessey that
was being recounted in the looks and giggles of these two girls. Poor guy.

The restaurant was decorated from top to bottom with posters from 80s
movies. No shit. There wasn't an INCH of wall or ceiling left. These
weren't GOOD 80's movies either. These weren't "Close Encounters" or
"Blade Runner" or "Breakfast Club" posters...looking about showed
everything from "Mannequin" to "Twins" to "Moonwalker".

It should come as no surprise that our waitress looked like Elvira,
mistress of the dark. But older. MUCH older. Is there a legal age limit
to when you can wear spandex?

We eventually recieved our food. The chicken strips that Andy and I were
eating were half-cooked: dark brown on one side and YELLOW on the other. I
didn't think it was possible to NOT get an even cooking with a deep fryer,
but apparently I was wrong. The plate went mostly untouched. The girls
spent their time reveling in the fact that Marilyn Monroe (one of the
only non-80's posters in the joint) was not skinny, by any stretch of the
imagination. They ate their double-fudge brownie sunday, and I, with
Herculean effort, left the fat jokes alone.

To compensate, however, I started a food fight with the table next to me.

The girls at the next table, somewhere in the midst of their highschool
years (decidedly younger than the two chicks that had kidnapped me from
the coffeehouse), came into the restaurant and sat down at the booth next
to us. We were a foot or so above them, since our row of booths was on a

At one point, one of these girls threw a napkin onto our table, probably
by accident. I threw it back. She threw it back again. Not able to resist
a dare, I threw a pickle. She retailiated. Reason prevailed (Andy to self:
"Not going to get booty if girlfriend disapproves of food fight"), and the
fight was cut short as I reached for the double-fudge brownie sunday.

So, to demonstrate that we're all mature individuals, the girls at the
next table and I got into a penis shouting game.

Ever play this?

Basically, player #1 says, simply, "penis."
Player #2 then says it a little louder.
Then player #1 says it louder still.

Continue until someone is too embarrassed to continue. The other player is
your winner.

The competition went something like this:

Me: "penis."
Her: "Penis."
Me: "Penis!"

We were asked to leave shortly after that.

Coincidentally, the word "penis" loses it's meaning after you've written
it too many times in a row, in case anyone was wondering.

Anyhow, that was my night. I came back to Loki to hack some more, and in a
few hours, I'll be apartment shopping yet again. Ugh. Catch y'all on the

(Disclaimer: No, Mom, I did NOT ever stick either end of a broom up my
ass. However, all the premature ejaculation stories are true, I'm sad to
report. (*shrug*) Now let's see you try to keep a straight face next time
you want to exchange cute stories about me with one of my girlfriends.)


The Loki Pyrotechnics Project.
written 2000-05-05 07:57:20

Apparently, if you melt candle wax down with a blowtorch, and keep heating
it past that point, it'll ignite. If, at this point, you throw a glass of
water on it, it'll erupt into a fireball.

Don't believe me?  Check out the fireworks at:

So the Loki gang spent the night trying to burn down Scott's house.  In
response to the stress induced by seven guys tossing wax all over the
back porch and causing flames to reach the second floor windows, Scott's
wife Kayt went into labor that evening. They now have a (very small) baby
girl, which (in a manuever that'll surely get her teased on the playground)
they named Reagan.

Uh...and I'm moving for the third time in six months; this time into an
apartment with fellow hacker Daniel Vogel, who just flew in from Germany a
few days ago. Here is a picture of him decidedly NOT beating me at a
video game (for a change), taken in between fireballs:

Oh, and thanks for all the LOVELETTERs, everyone. I love when everyone
gets hit by email viruses and sends them on to me. Stop using Microsoft
products, and you won't have this trouble.  :)


written 2000-05-12 15:19:00

Greeting from east LA, and the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3 for

Just to dispel the rumors, we didn't bring Asia Carrera with us. In fact,
we don't even have a booth here. I'm not sure what changed, but I think
we're moving her appearance to LinuxWorld/San Jose in August. In the
meantime, I guess I'll have to look elsewhere for porn stars to talk to.

Fortunately, I don't have to look very far. This place is CRAWLING with
booth babes. Interestingly enough, they usually aren't scantilly-clad...
er, actually, they ARE, but not in the standard, Victoria's Secret way.
With the exception of the Playboy bunnies (courtesy of CNet), most game
companies have resorted to dressing their babes up like their games'
characters. Laura Croft syndrome. In short, this place isn't so overrun
with scantily-clad women as it is overrun with scantily-clad women with
guns. Ah, all those years of fantasizing...

Actually, the h umorous highlight of the day goes to the GUY who's walking
around dressed like Laura Croft. Now that is a political statement! A
close second goes to the midget booth babe.

The general atmosphere around here is busy. And gaudy. And loud. Driving
into the convention center, there are 20-feet tall inflatable renditions
of the band Kiss. Once indoors, you can't hear yourself think.

Most of what I've seen here isn't particularly refreshing: it lots of
sequels and largely overdone concepts. Here were some of the highlights,

- Dragon's Lair 3D. If you ever begged mommy for arcade quarters to spend
in the early 80's, you'll think this is really kickass, too.

- Meeting John Romero. He cocreated Doom and Quake with John Carmack. His
company, Ion Storm, just released "Daikatana", which is (surprise) a lot
like Quake. He basically blew me off when I asked about a Linux port, but
I really just wanted to mention him because he looks like Anthony Kiedis
from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Heehee!

- Playstation 2. Need I say more?

- Nintendo of America had a bar set up, and was selling alcohol. I felt
this was killing my childhood until it occured to me that the main
customers were probably NoA execs that had just returned from the
Playstation 2 demos. Oh, and there's another Zelda game on the way for
the N64...I played it, but it was in Japanese, so heaven knows what it's

- Dave Taylor (also originally an iD guy, now a Transmeta genius) showed
off a Crusoe processor that can, on the fly, switch between executing i386
instructions and Java bytecode...this is more significant to the future
of computing than I can put into words, and Transmeta did it just to be
cool. Unreal.

- Bruce Campbell. Ran into him outside the expo. He's every bit as cool in

- "Return to Wolfenstein."  Sure, it's not only another tired sequel, but
it's also using the Quake 3 engine. Nonetheless, it looked to be as
hour-wasting as the original, and much more gorey.

- giving me a sticker that reads, "Still playing with
yourself?"  ...that one got stuck on my laptop.

- Halo. As Ani Difranco once said, "Beatiful, but boring." Emphasis on
beautiful, however.

- The Loki mosh pit at the GameSpy party. Also, the projection on the
wall of the original Tommy movie (the Pinball Wizard scene) and Tron were
only outdone by the classic arcade's been YEARS since I've
played Moon Patrol!

Must sleep. Will try to catch up on other (not necessarily) recent events

Pumpkin Bromo,

airline ettiqutte, part two.
written 2000-05-23 14:21:00

(written on the 18th...)

Today I made my way to John Wayne Airport to catch a ride to New York.
After getting yelled at by the mean old lady behind the ticket counter, my
plane took off for its first stop in St. Louis.

Right before we were about to descend, The Powers That Be deemed that the
St. Louis weather was inappropriate for landing. So we circled. And

Finally, we landed. Since there was about an hour before the plane was
scheduled to take off for the next segment of the flight, I "deplaned" to
locate an outlet where I could get a charge in my laptop. I was a little
startled to find that the upcoming flight was already being flagged
"DELAYED" as I passed out of the gate. There was talk of cancellation,
and everyone sat very still in a state of panic, despair, and disbelief.

Two hours later, surrounded by defeated standby passengers with rage
burning in their eyes, I boarded the heavily overbooked plane to New
York. I won't call this a victory, though.

Right before we were about to descend, The Powers That Be deemed that the
New York weather was inappropriate for landing. So we circled. And

And circled. And, eventually, we landed.

In Washington D.C..

Apparently New York City can withstand the weight of eight million
people, an ungodly crime rate, and ten years worth of uninterrupted
performance of Cats. But at the mere hint of a thunderstorm, the city
shuts down. After circling over Virginia for awhile, TWA lost their balls
and began the search for a foster home for our airplane.

On the ground in D.C., people were itching to stretch, use the payphones,
and make alternate plans. Naturally, technical problems prevent the crew
from opening the door. I thought a riot might break out on board.

We have finally taken off again. We'll see if The Powers That Be deem us
worthy of La Guardia airport this time around.

Some addendums to my airline theories:

- Come to expect that the people sitting direct behind you will be
passionately opinionated towards some controversial topic (this time
around it's gays in the military), and will carry on a heated discussion
about it for the duration of the trip. The more you eavesdrop, the more
accutely aware you will become that one or more of these people are full
of shit.

- You will inevitably be flying into an airport that is plagued with
thunderstorms, ice, natural disasters, and Mothra sightings. This may lead
you to believe that reality as you percieve it is just a big game of
SimCity. Regardless, expect to hear the term "holding pattern" come
through the intercom just as you stow your tray table and put your seat
back in the upright position.

- Anyone who speaks on the intercom is doing so to deliver bad news. To
ease the passengers' anger, the speaker will always speak calmly,
clearly, and slowly. In reality, this practice just pisses off the
passengers more, as it interferes with their eavesdropping.


Clock Skew Detected!
written 2000-05-26 20:13:43

(written over several days.)

Since I'm stuck in an airplane for the next few hours, I figure that this
would be a great time to catch up on life in general. However, you'll
have forgive the presentation; we're experiencing what we in the industry
call a "clock skew". Most of this is ancient history, a good portion is
told in the wrong order, and maybe some of it hasn't even happened yet.
Since novelists consider this to be good technique, I'll make no furter
apology for it.

(And the details of the Manhattan trip are STILL forthcoming. --Ed.)

I'm now settled into my new apartment, and not a minute too soon. Living
at Lance's house was a little too wierd for me. Don't get me wrong, the
house itself was really great, but the occupants were getting on my
nerves. Let me attempt the roll call:

Lance. Okay, Lance is pretty cool. He is the personification of the term
"weekend warrior" seven days a week. Some of his favorite activities are
skydiving, rock climbing, and motorcycling. He's one of Loki's "suits",
but I don't think he's ever owned one. 90 miles per hour is his idea of
driving slow. One time I peeked into his room to see if he was home, and
on his table was a Book of Mormon under a copy of "How to Read Auras"
under a huge roll of 100 dollar bills. What a metaphor! Lance is great,
and I really looked forward to living with him, but I didn't count on the
other residents.

Lance's girlfriend, Dulcie, also lives in the house. She's a prime
candidate for Jerry Springer. When I first moved in, she told me that she
couldn't wait for Lance and she to get married. Yikes. She would tell me
that she wouldn't know how to exist if they ever broke up. Yikes. And she
would tell me that she knows Lance really loves her, and he's clearly
just afraid to say so. YIKES. I asked her how long they have been a
couple, and after some amount of strained calculation, the result was,
"almost a month and a half."

Oh, yeah. Did I mention that Dulcie's currently married to another man?

Dulcie's husband, Mickey, is a real piece of shit from what I can gather.
Since Dulcie wasn't willing to have sex with the guy unless they were
married, they had a rather hasty knot tying, and were fighting before the
honeymoon was over. Since then, he has pretty much split his time between
smoking large quantities of marijuana and watching professional
wrestling, which I suspect he believes to be real.

Dulcie has a pit bull, named Sierra. I had never actually SEEN a pit bull
before this one, but I had heard lots of stories of these dogs removing
the arms of small children, so I wasn't too thrilled to find one suddenly
living in my house.

The dog itself doesn't bother me. In fact, Sierra is the friendliest (and
perhaps the most enthusiastic) dog I've met. I think it's the fact that
Lance and Dulcie used my shower to bathe her, and didn't clean the hair
out of the drain. And my towel mysteriously began to smell like wet dog.

Dulcie also has a sister, in whom she confided about her relationship
with Lance. Naturally, her sister immediately called Mickey and told him
all about the new guy Lance and his big house and big Mercedes. In short,
she's a backstabbing bitch. Dulcie told me that she would never be able to
trust her sister again.

One morning, around 3a.m., I came into the house and almost tripped over
someone sleeping on a foam mattress in the foyer. Upon interrogation, I
discovered it was Dulcie's sister. I guess trust is a lot like the

Maybe spousal abuse is genetic, since Dulcie's mother is apparently also
married to a real piece of shit.  One night, while Dulcie's dad (or maybe
stepfather?) was in lockdown for some sort of domestic disturbance,
Dulcie and some friends rescued dear ol' Mom, and brought her to Mickey's
house to live with the happy couple and their pitbull. Under happier
circumstances, this would be a decent setup for an NBC sitcom.

One morning, around 3a.m., I came into the house and almost tripped over
someone sleeping on a foam mattress in the foyer. Upon interrogation, I
discovered it was Dulcie's mother.

Now I can just imagine Mickey sitting on a worn couch, lighting a joint
and watching Monday Nitro. He normally hears the noise of a wife, a
mother-in-law, and a dog moving about the house. Now there's nothing but
the hooting of Ric Flair echoing through the silence. I wonder if he ever
started to suspect anything. White trash has a talent (if not an
instinctual need) to follow people; it's a 90s incarnation of hunting
skills. Thus, Dulcie's indiscretions would lead Mickey right here, and
probably sooner than later. I began to expect that he would show up at
Lance's one day. He would then shoot everyone, the dog, and finally
himself. They would make a Lifetime miniseries about the killings, and I'd
probably get played by Eddie Furlong.

So that's us: Lance, Dulcie, Dulcie's sister, Dulcie's dog, and Dulcie's

Oh wait. There's also Will. He's the ghost.

Nobody sees Will except Dulcie, but she claims to have talked with him on
several occasions, and has told him to "go to the light." In this case,
this is a Christian suggestion to go be with God, making Dulcie one of the
few truely devout people I've met that loves both Jesus and Ouiji boards.

Anyhow, apparently Will was murdered decades ago, and his body is
still buried under the foundation of the house.

And he doesn't like me because I'm "closed minded". Will, if you had an
email address, I'd send you this journal entry and we could discuss that
matter. Shame you haven't got an email address, cause you're just a
figment, you imaginary fuck.

Kiss my close-minded butt.


Your moment of Zen.
written 2000-05-26 20:35:16

This is my new "workstation."

Ignore the glare of my shoes, please.

(And yes, we have an eBay bid extended on a head-mounted display to
complete the setup.)


Don't pay the ransom, I've escaped!
written 2000-06-19 20:21:00

Happy belated Father's Day to all you fathers out there.

This is going to be a really short email with little to no detail about my
life in it.

There WILL be some less short emails with fun stuff coming later, right
after one or two less short emails containing not-so-fun stuff. I haven't
fogotten y'all, nor have I forgotten those that haven't gotten an email
from me recently. I'm plowing through my inbox as fast as I can.

To tide you over, I've set up the webpage I promised eons ago. You can
read any past journal list messages at

[Now at   --Ed.]


Exhausted and cat-sitting,

parking lot full of lesbians.
written 2000-07-05 02:43:25

I hope you all had a good 4th of July. I thought I'd take my day off and
celebrate by...(gasp!) catching up on my life.

I'll tell you all about that later on. The real celebration is that
there's now only 505 emails sitting in my inbox.  :)

Anyhow, when we last left Ryan, he was en route to New York City. Let's
just pretend that over a month has NOT elasped since then. I remember
every little thing as if it happened only yesterday...

[Ed.--Written...god knows when.]

The Travel Gods hate me. I must have run over a backpacker in a past life,
because even simple excursions can go wrong for me.

Take, for example, the plane ride to New York. Anyone who uses the
airlines will, sooner than later, get stuck in a holding pattern. Many
will also get rerouted to cities they never asked to visit. But it takes
a uniquely unlucky traveller to circle from one holding pattern to
another on a rerouted plane with a broken door, seated in front of three
over-opinionated morons.

How did li'l old me get to be so blessed?

Eventually I did manage to land at La Guardia airport in New York, over
four hours late. After a taxi ride to Madison Square Garden, under which
lies Penn Station, I discovered that I had just missed the last train of
the night, so I snuggled up with some homeless people and waited patiently
for the next available opportunity to get to Trenton.

At 4:30a.m., my train departed, and I was thrilled to find my brother
waiting for me in Trenton. The only good thing about New Jersey is
getting the hell out of it.

Estimated time to my parents' house from California: 10 hours.

Actual time it took: 19.

I had planned on meeting up with Emmett for lunch in Philadelphia that
day, but since it was rapidly approaching noon, dinner was starting to
sound like a better plan to my fatigued body. I had him email me driving
directions, and a few moments later, I was passed out by the dryer, while
the washing machine gurgled away on my clothes.

Have I mentioned the Travel Gods hate me? Off I went in my mother's car
towards Philadelphia. This was meant to be a 20 minute trip which quickly
became a two 2 hour endeavor. Damn you, MapQuest.

Finally, I found my way, but the plan for dinner was rapidly devolving
into take-out; at this point I only had a few hours before I had to be
back at La Guardia airport. So while it was premature even for computer
geeks of our magnitude, I found myself asking where the Internet
connection was as Emmett answered his door.

My partner in crime for this trip was to be Susan Stabley, intrepid
journalist of the Bible Belt and envy of all her friends, none of which
had tickets to Phish's tour opener. Her plane would be landing, if her
luck was better than mine, around 11p.m., which was rapidly
approaching. Meanwhile I was surfing the net two states away for a battle

Emmett gave me the grand tour of the apartment as he lead me to the cable

There are several arcade games scattered around the apartment. The walls
are filled with Back to the Future memorabilia. If it wasn't for the wife
sitting on the couch, the place would qualify as a bachelor's dream pad.

Emmett introduced me to his wife, Starr, and a random employee
who was hanging out, named Dave.

After hitting, I imagined I could extend the meal to at
least a trip to the McDonald's drive thru. If I was back on the road in
15 minutes, I could make it to Trenton, catch a train, then a taxi, and be
at La Guardia with time to kill. Not MUCH time, mind you, but time

As I explained this, Dave suggested that we just drive directly to the
airport. And before I could explain the mental anguish I'd be inflicting
on my mother if I drove her car through Manhattan, Dave had already
grabbed his keys, and Emmett had already grabbed the drinks. The Great
American Road Trip was commencing, and I silently prayed to the Travel
Gods for better luck going north than I had coming east.

The Travel Gods, of course, would have none of that. Somewhere up on
Interstate 95, we had a blowout.

The funniest thing about having a flat tire is that moment where, despite
the sound of flapping rubber and the uneven ride, everyone in the car
confers that MAYBE everything is fine and the best plan is to just keep

Sooner or later, common sense takes over. [Ed.--Usually, Dad.] As we
pulled over, we retrieved the donut and jack by the light of my Palm

Eventually we got back on the road, but we were pretty late at this
point. Getting lost in Manhattan didn't help much, either.

Oh, did I mention the traffic jam?

On the way, we hit one of those traffic jams you only see in movies
designed to keep Out-of-Towners away. In good New Yorker fashion, someone
stuck in the mess flipped it the proverbial middle finger, pulled out,
and started driving up the wrong side of the road. He started a small
revolution; soon, others followed, and we figured, what the hell. This
blatant moving violation actually gained us a few yards, until these lanes
also jammed, and we once again came to a halt, now blocking the whole

As we sat idling in a sea of cars, Emmett calmly rolled down his window
and addressed the driver in the lane to his right.

"Busy night, officer?"

The policeman assured us, in bored tones and from the correct side of the
road, that he simply didn't have enough tickets to handle all these
cars. Who says there's no safety in numbers?

We finally arrived at La Guardia about 2 hours late. As we started looking
for Susan, Dave asked what she looked like. Simplest answer: "Look for the
girl who's really, really pissed."

We found Susan more unconscious than pissed. On the way home, I tried to
explain why we were so late. And truth be told, it sounded like a
collection of lame excuses when I said it, but the stories all seemed much
more feasible as the car's donut went flat.

The funniest thing about a having a flat tire in the middle of Harlem is
that moment where, despite the sound of flapping rubber and the uneven
ride, everyone in the car could give a fuck less about the wheel.

Without the need for any encouragement whatsoever, Dave drove on,
ensuring beyond a doubt that this donut had seen its last tour of
duty. The Travel Gods decided that it was just downright mean to trap
four white kids in a decidely hostile environment, and blessed us with an
all-night garage after a few blocks.

Emmett was the first out of the car as we pulled in, and immediately
accosted the Rastafarian mechanic.

"You sell tires here?"
"Uh huh."
"You sell tires for that car over there?"
"Uh huh."
"You busy right now?"
"Uh huh."
"I got a hundred bucks that says you're not..."

Five minutes later, we were back on the road.

The rest of the trip was considerably less eventful. The highlights of the
conversation involved a metaphor named "Bad Dick" and the obligatory
existential conversation over coffee at a late-night diner.

Susan's plane landed at 11:30p.m.. We made back to my parent's house as
the sun was rising.

Overall, it was a pretty memorable night.

I turned over the pictures of myself in elementary school and showed
Susan into her room. Then I prepared to sleep myself. Considering my luck
in the past 24 hours, preparations involved checking the bed for poisonous
spiders, placing a fire extinguisher nearby, and doing some stretches, in
case I pulled a muscle in my sleep.

But I didn't count on the ninjas hiding in the closet...


nothing profound.
written 2000-07-13 23:34:56

Today my front right car tire went flat. Isn't it funny how history
repeats itself?


Glam rock is NOT dead. It just got REAL ugly.
written 2000-07-17 16:30:57

(Rest of the New York details are forthcoming, I swear. --Ed.)

There's no nice way to say this: I went to a Metallica concert.

Jim, the disgrunted Yankee that sat next to me, just moved on to a new
job. On his last day of work, around four in the afternoon, he loaded his
fiancee and cat into his stylish black VW bug, and started a trek across
the country.

As he walked across the business quad for the last time, I waved goodbye
from his office window. He waved back. I glanced quickly around at all his
possessions, most of which he left behind. On the wall were his two
tickets to the concert, which he had forgotten.

I continued to wave until he was out of sight. Once Jim was gone, the
looting began.

Andrew, one of Loki's programmers, hung a sign that said, "Oooh, AUCTION!"
over Jim's desk. Like vultures, we swooped in to feast on the corpse of
Jim's workspace. Little toy penguins, computer speakers, an OpenGL
reference, and that really cool USB mouse: all gone in a matter of
minutes. I vocally shunned this horrible display of savageness as I
pocketed the tickets.

I didn't really want to see a Metallica concert. In fact, I considered
hocking the tickets on eBay. But Scott had a plan.

Metallica has been getting a lot of press recently for taking action
against Napster, a company (and technology) that allows people to
effectively pirate music over the internet. If you haven't heard of
Napster, get your head out of the sand. If you don't know what an
"MP3" is...don't worry, you will.

Scott and a couple other Loki guys were going to the show, too. So we all
went together, dressed appropriately. Take a look at for pictures. Doesn't Scott
remind you of Hannibal from the A-Team with that cigar?  :)

The concert itself wasn't too great. Vogel (who got Jim's other
ticket) and myself were planning to show up for Korn, and leave. Since we
all ended up piled in one car, that didn't happen. We missed the pissant
opening bands, and showed up JUST IN TIME for (ahem) Kid Rock. What joy.

Ron Jeremy (the porn star) announcing the Kid Rock was probably the
highlight of the hour. There was a three-year old up on stage rapping with
Kid. Maybe it was a midget. I hear they hang out with porn stars sometimes.

Don't get me wrong; I don't want to bash on Kid Rock too much...his music
isn't very good, and he sounds VERY market-engineered, much like Vanilla
Ice, Britney Spears, or any random Boy Band. What this means is that he's
the music industry's whore, and in every industry whore there's an
individual, a sincere artist, struggling to surface. Which is fine; I wish
him all the best. Unfortunately, in five years, when he's releasing an
all-acoustic guitar album with no rap, he's still gonna just be Kid
Rock. Go and ask Everlast how that all went for him.

The girl sitting next to me spent most of the Kid Rock's set guzzling
beer. For someone that looks like White Trash, she MUST have been
rich; the beer was five bucks per paper cupfull in the stadium, and she
surely emptied a keg by herself. She was good and sloshed by the time Kid
Rock finished his schtick. By the time the crew had loaded his equipment
offstage, she was litterally falling over on me.

I had stood up to watch the boobs. More on this in a moment. This girl
next to me stood up on her chair to get a better view herself, and put her
hand on my shoulder to steady herself. This is fine. Within a few minutes,
her arm was around me, and she was telling me that we (not editorial, as
in "she and I") were going to have a really good time tonight. You
betcha. I responded with something along the lines of "Please don't touch
me," and she took the hint.

A few minutes later she was passed out, and I was holding her head up so
that she wouldn't smack it against the back of the chair. I was reminded
fondly of my college days.

Now, about those boobs.

It took a good half hour between bands for the crew to set up for the next
one. The crowd got restless, and out of nowhere, some girl stood up and
flashed everyone. The mob went wild. Soon other girls joined in. You could
get a sense of where a tit-showing was going to occur, since the girl
would stand up and get everyone's attention, and then, like human
personifications of their genitalia, all the men around her would rise to
attention. It wasn't long before we were scanning the throng of 50,000
horny voyeurs to find groups of men standing up to get a better view. As
the girl lifted her shirt, everyone would go nuts for a second, cheering
wildly. If the girl chickened out at the last moment, the crowd would boo
until she was pressured into it. It was a fascinating study in social
science. At one point, a girl a few rows from me stood up (I think
probably to go to the bathroom, not so much to show her breasts), and
everyone around her circled like wolves. She sat right back down
when she realized what was occuring, and the mob booed and hissed. I
yelled something to the extent of "She's just a girl, leave her alone you
pricks!" and was amazed to find that everyone else from Loki had abandoned

One girl was going up and down the stairs of my section flashing the
audience and playing with her nipples. Every now and then, she'd collect
tips. It was a true exploitation of exploitation. It was Capitalism at its

Korn played next. Korn's fucked up. I appreciate a band that'll produce
songs like "Dead Bodies Everywhere."  The lead singer was wearing a black
kilt, and played the bagpipes at one point. I enjoyed the set thoroughly.

Right after Korn started, the passed-out chick in the seat next to me shot
up to attention, hopped over the back of her seat, and wanderer off. Her
sister, two seats down from me, either didn't notice or didn't care. I
suspected I wouldn't be seeing that girl again, and sure enough, she
didn't return for more than two hours.

After Korn, there were more strip shows in various pockets throughout the
arena, followed by a food fight that engulfed the entire Los Angeles
Memorial Colliseum. I found it was better to watch the rows above me for
incoming Cokes and hot dogs than it was to watch the attention-starved and
peered-pressured that were distributing cheap thrills.

Eventually, Metallica started.

I approached this portion of the night much like I approach car races; I
imagined that even if the music sucked, if I was really lucky, I might see
James Hetfield accidentally set himself on fire again.

I don't have much to say about Metallica. I don't like most of their songs.
They have a good stage presence that masked the fact that the technical
system in the colliseum sucked. Lars Ulrich still wants to be Ozzy
Osborne, and he still isn't.

They played THREE encores. I think this is what Hell must be like.

The best part of the Metallica set was the group of people that broke
through a gate to get to the ground level. Ten or fifteen people spilled
out and made a mad dash towards the stage. They disappeared as they
entered the crowd, and thereby technically upgraded their seats. As the
sixteenth person attempted the dash he learned the hard way that the old
maxim is true: he who hesitates is lost. Without the chaotic safety of
numbers, the security guards tackled him, and wrestled him to the
ground. No one else tried to go through after that.

>From my view hundreds of feet above, it seemed very obvious that if they
all just streamed out at this point, security, three of which were
occupied holding that guy down, wouldn't be able to stop them. Maybe one
of them would get caught out of 100 more. I imagine this is how
revolutions die before they start; sure, the military can't possibly shoot
ALL the revolutionaries...but someone's gonna get shot. A false belief in
the comfort of the current situation is a phenominal demotivator.

Hhm. What a metaphor. Someone email me back that last paragraph next time
I say something quaint about my life.


there and back again.
written 2000-07-24 21:54:48

So, in a whirlwind storm of travel, I was in Charlotte long enough to
blink, and I'm now back in California. To celebrate yet another flight
across the country, here are some more maxims of air travel.

- If you are seated in the exit rows, you may be called upon to operate
the doors in the event of an emergency. This means that you have been
genetically preselected as the most efficient Crisis Manager on-board, or
you appear to possess the degree in Engineering required to disengage all
the safety latches on the exit. But really:

- In the unlikely event of an accident, don't bother messing with the
door. Just sit down and shut up; if you don't do your job, someone's
bound to do it for you, and this might be your last opportunity ever to
slack off.

- Airplane bathrooms always smell like chemical death. This is due to the
blue fluid that is dispensed when you flush the toilet, or the 90-year
old woman that was in front of you in line, or both.

- I have been told that a simple guide to success is this: whenever you
board an airplane, be sure to check out what the people in First Class
are reading, and then read those things yourself. I've spent the last
three years looking at what First Class reads, and they are almost always
reading trashy romance novels, Danielle Steel, or Steven King. The
bourgesie of First Class almost exclusively read John Grisham. Back in
the proles' section of the plane, however, I've seen the cattle read
everything from Oscar Wilde to Steven Covey. You may draw your own

- No matter where you live and where you've been, if you've been
travelling since 4a.m., you are always happy to get home.


Your moment of Zen...
written 2000-07-28 01:22:39

In Evans, Georgia, there is a drive-through fast food restaurant named


Paper or plastic?
written 2000-08-03 04:33:51

For a change, I went to a grocery store. At the checkout, the girl asked
me "paper or plastic?" and I asked which was better for the environment.

She just gave me a glazed look.


Wanna tango?
written 2000-08-05 06:12:21

On Tuesday, I went to the dinner theater down the road from work. They
were showing Grease. I figured a quality meal and good service could
outweigh the torture of this show, but alas, I was wrong.

I just do NOT see the enthrallment with this musical. It's bad. Bad bad

The movie is okay. If you've just seen the movie then stick to it. But the
stage show doesn't have:

- The good songs that are in the movie.
- A plot.
- Conflict.
- Character development.
- A climax.
- A resolution.

They have a brief pregnancy scare that lasts about 3 seconds, that is
magically resolved and certain to reaffirm premarital sex to everyone that
watches. More importantly, the basic message of the show is something
along the lines of this:

"I'm knocked up."
"That's a shame. Good luck."
"Eat a dick, Sandra D, at least I'm not a cock tease."
"Oh, God, you're so cool. Let me be just like you and your Pink Lady
friends: pregnant, socially driven, and completely vacuous."

Musical number ensues that ensures that these two chicks who have nothing
in common and both consider themselves better than the other can suddenly
be best friends...and all things, like on daytime TV, are resolved with a

More importantly, now that Sandra is putting out for Danny, the world can
accept her. Eat your heart out, John Travolta; the Lesbian Avengers now
make COMPLETE sense to me.

The funny thing about dinner theater is that there are only two types of
people in the audience: really old people, and really young people that
the really old people dragged along. There are countless kids that are
being "treated" to a show full of shitty stereotypes by their
grandparents. Here, little Jenny; be sure to aspire to be just like the
protagonists of this little musical!

Okay, honestly, I could care less about the moral themes of Grease. At
least, of all the popular artforms that get a bad rap for content, can I
REALLY blame this show?  Maybe, MAYBE someone is out there bustin' a cap
in some chump suckah after listing to Dr. Dre, and maybe someone is
out there sawing on his wrists after listening to Nine Inch Nails. Hell,
maybe even some twelve year old is getting a boob-job after watching
Britney Spears's videos. But I doubt anyone is getting pregnant and
blaming Grease.  Maybe it's just distribution channels. I don't know.

As for the old folks, I think these people come to dinner theater because
they expect this theater to be "easy," but theater never is. Rather, it
never SHOULD be. Generally, drama is considered challenging to the actors,
but no one ever considers the audience's role. Real theater forces the
performers and the audience into a sort of dance, and the steps are
complex. Theater isn't meant to be comfortable. Not even comedy
(ESPECIALLY not comedy!) should really leave the viewer
unaffected. Everyone thinks that catharsis is something reserved
for tragedies, but it's not. You don't need to see Antigone or Who's
Afraid of Virginia Woolf to have your guts ripped out and mangled in front
of your face.

Did I say "guts?"  I meant "perspective."

When you aren't treated to this, then you've pissed away your night;
you've been robbed of The Experience.

Sure, it's dinner theater, and you aren't going to see "Shopping and
Fucking" there. But why do we insist on wasting an attentive audience's
time and thoughts on drivel?  Rizzo gets knocked up? That was
quaint. Chino shoots Tony?  The dancing was wonderful! Don Quixote
falls to the Mirror Knight? That was almost as much fun as South Pacific
last time!

We could give a fuck less, and that's not because we stopped for ice cream
at intermission. Even fluffy shows can challenge you. In all things
performance, if you aren't challenged, then you essentially got your
pocket picked for the price of admission.

Keep it in mind.


written 2000-08-20 03:06:14

I just helped one of our QA guys move into his new apartment. I have
muscles that I never knew existed that now ache.

It actually is difficult to make a fist, and impossible to snap my
fingers; I've never moved so much stuff in one day, and my arms are

So, before I fall into a coma-like sleep that will no doubt end with the
realization that everything hurts, I wanted to pass on a Moment of Zen:

As I left my apartment this morning, a kid came up to me and told me that
I "look like WWF."

I don't understand why he said this, but nonetheless, I am trying to
believe this to be a compliment.


Something borrowed, something blue...
written 2000-08-27 13:23:43

(Catch up time. I've been writing this, one sentence at a time, since
July 22nd. I'm so far behind, I may never catch up. --Ed.)

Ah, the Progressive New South.

I am in Augusta, Georgia, at the Jewish Community Center for a Baptist
wedding reception. We have just passed the "Electric Slide" portion of
the night, and progressed onto the "La Vida Loca" section. I am of the
personal belief that Ricky Martin may be personally resposible for
lowering the marriage rate this year; after all, I know I wouldn't want
this played at MY reception. Sorry, Sandy, but I'm gonna ride this Ricky
Martin thing out.

Nonetheless, Jason Jacobs and his beautiful bride Jewelia braved the La
Vida reprise and tied the knot today.

I foolishly expected the trip from Charlotte to Augusta to take four
hours, I allowed myself plenty of driving time, and much to my surprise, I
arrived at the church in exactly two. Rather than sit in my rental for
the next two hours, I wandered into the church. A lady inside wanted to
know if I was the sound technician, and for once I happily answered,
"no."  I made myself comfortable and waited for the crowd to show up.

The ceremony was very nice; there was lots of music. Granted, every
wedding I've seen has some organ playing or whatnot, but this is the
first one I've seen that featured singing, and lots of it.

This was also the first time I've ever seen a minister openly admit that
human love is basically fickle by nature. The bigger message was, of
course, "put your love in God instead," but the initial statement was
still not standare fare for a wedding speech, in my experience.

At the reception, the Father of the Bride introduced the newlyweds, and
for a brief second, completely blanked on Jason's name. The pause was
long enough to be funny, and short enough to not be sad; I'll chalk it up
to stage fright.

Queens students, past and present, filled the reception hall. It was very
strange seeing the people that I haven't since my junior year.

I was back in Orange County within hours of the ceremony. This whirlwind
tour of the South filled me with a deep nostalgia and ...hey...maybe even
a sense of regret. At the same time, I was busy encouraging other people
to drop their lives and move to cities across the world. Go figure. I
still honestly think the concept of throw-your-shit-in-a-bag-and-cross-
the-globe is a good's just not so black and white. You have all
been warned.

Jason and Jewelia's honeymoon is now over, and they've settled down to
the tedious business of mailing out hundreds of thank-you cards. I got
mine in the mail the other day, thanking me for the wok I got them as a
wedding gift. It was listed in their wedding registry at Sears, and I
couldn't resist; it seemed like a ingeniously acceptable tacky gift,
functionality notwithstanding.

In a few weeks, I'm going to another wedding, this time in Los Angeles. I
guess I'm a nuptual roadie this season. How trendy.


The pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handle.
written 2000-08-27 13:28:01

I started a fresh build of Alpha Centauri, which takes a few hours of
processing to recompile from scratch. I went to one of those 24 hour
laundromats during the wait, and dumped the pile of clothes that was
filling my car's back seat into washing machines.

Heading back to Loki, I found the build died because of a typo in one of
the source files. I fixed that, and continued the compilation. Back to
the laundromat, throw my clothes in the dryer. Hit the Taco Bell, back to
the office. Build continues. Back to the laundromat. Clothes are missing
from the dryer. I flip my shit.

There are piles and piles of towels there, probably belonging to a hotel
or something, and two guys that have been patiently washing them this
whole time approach me to explain the whereabout of my wardrobe. In

Communication was impossible, so one of the guys ran next door to get a
translator. The man that owns the shop next door came in and explained
that the cleaning lady took my clothes. What?!

Rather, she took my clothes and locked them in a closet, since
"abandoned" clothing generally ends up in a homeless person's shopping

So great. Now I just need to get the owner to unlock the closet.
Unfortunately, he's only at the laundromat at arbitrary times in five
minute segments. Looks like I'm gonna be rotating shirts for the next few
days...On a brighter note, my build of Alpha Centauri finally finished.


My clothes.
written 2000-09-04 12:04:38

My laundry finally showed up, after a week of hunting, calling, and
mailing stamped letters.

It was returned to me, still wet, in black garbage bags.

I ended up washing it all again.


Travel tips, redux.
written 2000-09-20 00:29:33

It is, in fact, mere coincidence that I've just boarded a TWA flight as I
write down a new batch of travel tips. Don't let anyone tell you

- Lots of modern airports have moving walkways. If you must be an
automaton and use it, be sure to watch your step at the end of the
walkway so as not to be catapulted into the elderly person in front of
you. Which brings us to an excellent point:

- The will be an antediluvian on board your flight. "It" will have
obviously abandoned any trace of sexuality long ago, but during the reign
of Elizabeth, it was female. Men just don't live that long. And yes,
Methusulah is going to slow down your boarding process, due to the three
stewardesses it takes to carry her iron lung. At least you can now look
at your own mortality in a fresh light; you might be reminded that you're
going to die, but at least it could be a long, long time from now.

- Once upon a flight there was a nurse, and she asked a stewardess if
there was any concern about making flight crews walk through the metal
detectors everyday. Wasn't she scared of cancer? The stewardess thought
the notion was laughable, and after the flight, made a beeline for the
designated glass-encased smoking lounge. The are several lessons you can
extract from this story, most of which are incorrect.

- Yes, she's sure got that safety demonstration down pat. Yes, she's done
this thousands of time. Yes, she friggin' hates it. Thanks for asking.

-  Scream "Wassup?!" at the first guy you meet upon deplaning. It will
always brings a smile to his face, and if he returns the greeting, you'll
feel at home even in a foreign city.


I swear...
written 2000-09-20 00:36:16

...if I don't write SOMETHING about that New York trip from MONTHS ago
within the next 24 hours, Susan has my heartfelt permission to perform

Thank you.

--The McManagement.

When we last left our trusty traveller...
written 2000-09-21 02:08:28

(Ha! No castration for ME, Susan! Thank you to those that wrote in
suggesting I sell my removed testicles on eBay, but I guess I'm not done
with them, after all. Also, let's all pretendt to take Mr. Roger's magic
train and make believe that it's NOT four months later than when this
happened. Thanks.  --Ed.) after dispatching the ninjas in my closet, I went to sleep.

The next morning, Susan and I hopped a train bound for Philly. Ultimately,
we were headed for the Big Apple, but we were taking a round-about route
for reasons I won't get into.

On the way to New York via New Jersey Transit (yeah, we touch soil in
every northeastern state), we took stock of our possessions:

We both brought cell phones, so we could fit in to the big New Yorker
lifestyle that we'd seen on those Pizza Hut commercials. This fell within
the 1.5 month window I owned a cell phone in. They suck. I hate them. I
gave mine away and splashed naked in the river...uh, metaphorically.

I also brought a Palm Pilot, and my laptop, so I could NOT write this
journal entry, but I'd be prepared with something of value in case I got
mugged. There's nothing more awkward than explaining to a mugger that you
just don't have anything worth taking, so I avoiding that discomfort by
carrying 2,000 bucks worth of technology in my backpack.

Susan brought along a copy of "Steal this Book," which, if you haven't
heard of it, is all about how to screw the system for free food, shelter,
and other basic human necessities. It features chapters entitled, "Fuck
Chicago," "Fuck Washington," and of course, "Fuck New York." The copy
smelled of whiskey, which I thought was superbly appropriate. We took
turns flipping through it while I started the hotel hunt.

Last-minute-hotel-hunting follows a basic principal. Take a travel
guide, magazine or whatnot that lists all the hotels in a given
city. For completeness, there should be a few five-star joints and
a couple of shithole hostels. Organize these into two categories: ones you
will sleep in and ones you will not. There are many factors involved here,
but there should be no gray areas in your final decision; it's on one list
or the other. No maybes.

Throw out the ones-you-will-not list. Then, start going down the other one
alphabetically. Stay at the first one that has room. This prevents you
from getting too picky about your accomodations, since there's the real
deciding factors are arbitrary (alphabetical) and random (what's actually

We ended up in a Best Western, which always brings to mind saloons,
gunslingers, and women of loose morals. The reality was a different
stereotype all together; imagine the run-down hotel that was, maybe fifty
years ago, an upscale waypoint for Presidents and plutocrats on the
go. Now, the hotel is for the proletariats, and while everything is
covered with a thin layer of dirt, it still possesses a sense of dignity
and style. Susan and I crammed into the tiny elevator, and made our way to
the fourth floor.

I was first to open the door, and as I peeked in to check for more ninjas,
I learned a valuable lesson about the hotel industry. Take notes, there
will be a quiz later:

"Double room" does not mean "two beds."

As I closed the door and turned around to face Susan, the best I could
come up with was, " want the first shift on the floor?"

We dropped the topic and our backpacks and headed out to the big, scary

There's not much to say; New York is, well, New York. The odd thing about
it is that I never feel scared walking around the streets in the middle of
the night there. I have no idea why. The city just vibrates. It's
great. We wandered through Time Square, arcades, restaurants...nothing
shuts down in this damned city. There was construction of what looked like
a giant dog in Rockefeller Plaza. The art in STORE WINDOWS blows away the
best that Charlotte offers in its museums. I love this city.

Not much more than wandering around happened on this day. We almost ran
into Trey Anastasio coming out of the NBC building, but just barely missed
him. Hum.

So off to bed (singular) we went.

I briefly flipped through the TV. Built in Nintendo 64. Cool. Henry V on
public access. Neat.

So I settled to the floor for a good night's sleep, as Susan protested.

"Look, either you get in the bed and I sleep on the floor, or we both use
the bed, but you aren't sleeping on the floor."
"Y'know, there's an AWFUL lot of letters to Penthouse that start out this

After much coaxing, we shared the bed, and it WOULD have been a good
night's sleep, if the secret agents hadn't placed that bomb in the


Your moment of Zen.
written 2000-09-24 05:19:41

[icculus@gamehenge ~]$ ls -l mbox
-rw-------   1 icculus  root     19931368 Sep 24 03:53 mbox

The "19931368" is the size of my inbox. Nineteen megabytes.

Want some perspective?

[icculus@gamehenge ~]$ ls -l shakespeares_plays.txt
-rw-r--r--   1 icculus  devel     5707111 Sep 24 05:15 shakespeares_plays.txt

This is getting fuckin' rediculous.


various updates.
written 2000-09-27 00:57:02

So much to say.

I guess I'll start at the beginning.

There's a website,, that, among other
things, makes lots of fun of the video game industry. Naturally, we all
love it, so when the site's owner posted that he'd be visiting John Wayne
Airport to pick up his girlfriend, we jumped at the chance to go meet him.

Unfortunately, so did some other people.

Awaiting us at the gate was a collection of some of the SCARIEST freaks
I've ever laid eyes upon. Try to imagine if Marilyn Manson and the local
computer user's group bred. Now imagine Chris Farley and Joe Peschi
contributed DNA to the mix. Put a cyst the size of a golf ball on one of
their heads.

You get the idea.

Other stuff:

Mr. Ting Lan, another alum of Queens, found himself out on the west
coast, so we kicked it old-skool style over lunch. There was a LOT of
insight into corporate activity, married life, and the inherent desire to
flee from cities passing over that lunch table. Come back and visit
anytime, Bobby.

Daniel and I visited North Carolina for a number of reasons. More on this

I went to another wedding. Must be popular this year, despite the Ricky
Martin thing. And, yes, they DID play that La Vida Loca song. More on
this later, too.

Finally, it has come to my attention that I've been spelling
"ridiculous" incorrectly all these years. Everyone should anxiously await
a full refund on the cost of their subscription to this service.


(Is that the sound of crickets I hear?)
written 2000-10-23 06:20:09

Your moment of Zen, and my moment of horror:

I was driving along the beach this morning, hoping to catch the sunrise,
and drove past a drive-thru Espresso bar.

That's my sign; I must flee California.


State of the union.
written 2000-10-30 02:14:57

First, thanks for all the kind emails after my run in with espresso
drive-thru. If I were to subdivide, I got several emails in each of three

1) "You can crash at my place if you need to."
2) "Come home."  (These came from Charlotte and Philadelphia, mostly)
3) "About time."

I'm one step ahead of you all. More on this in a moment.

Secondly, thanks for your patience with the silence of the mailing list.
I'm writing humor pieces for on a weekly basis now, and it's
hard to be funny on demand all the time...especially when someone's paying
you to do it elsewhere.

Furthermore, I can't legally talk about the interesting things at work
right now (I hate that shit, but that's how it goes), and the other three
minutes of the day I'm playing ghetto Nintendo, which hasn't produced
interesting conversation since sixth grade when the Princess kissed Link
at the end of Zelda 2.

So, I just wanted to let you all know that I'm still alive, and I'm
working on something that might be taking me out of California. Nothing is
definite, so, like everything else in my life, it's under a metaphorical
NDA for the time being...hopefully it'll produce some stories in the long
run, if nothing else, and we can all scrape some entertainment from these
emails again.

Anyhow, back to whooping up on some Goombas. Ta ta for now.


A long December.
written 2000-12-09 02:22:39

California has been VERY foggy lately.

I'm talking like Ravenloft-style foggy. You'll walk outside, and it's a
clear night, and then blink. You might think that your eyes didn't clear,
but don't bother rubbing them, the fog has just settled in THAT FAST. I'm
not kidding. It's eerie.

After a few days of this phenominon, I asked if there was a name for it.
There is.


This is as close as California comes to a White's not SNOW
in the air, but it's white nonetheless.

This is sign #2 that I must flee California. And this time, I am.

Not permenently, mind you, but it'll be like growing up; the problem with
running away from home is that you always end up going back. So, for the
time being, back I will come to good ol' Orange County, but not for about
four weeks. I'm considering this Christmas Break for "grown ups," or "burn
outs," if we're calling things by their proper names.

At any rate, this is going to have several significant results:

- I will sleep.
- I will finally get to read Alice in Wonderland.
- I will sleep.
- I will actually get to write some of these past journal entries, so you
can all laugh at my experiences with the California DMV (which
coincidentally, ended today; I finally can drive legally.)
- Did I mention that I will sleep?


It's been a long time since I've seen the ocean; I think I should. This
time, however, it'll be the Atlantic.

See you when I see you.


one for the road.
written 2000-12-09 19:29:52

Okay, I'm really leaving this time, but first, I need to ask if anyone is
in need of a few cats.

I have one momma cat and three adorable kittens that are...well, going to
be put to death if I can't find them a home.

If anyone can provide a loving home, I'll deliver anywhere up or down the
east coast. I don't know what shots these cats need, or if they've been
neutered/spayed, but I will pay the costs to have these things taken care

If anyone can take them, or knows someone who will, please email me at, and I'll arrange to get them to you.

And...ahem...I hate to break up a set, but if you can only take one, then
that's one less that gets put to sleep.

And no, these aren't my cats that I'm abandoning; I'm helping out another
unfortunate soul here.

Let me know. I'll be in the car for the next couple days, but I'll check
my email from the road.

Thanks in advance,

written 2000-12-29 00:32:39

Here's a miniature version of the written test for all you potential

The safest way to operate a motor vehicle is:

A) at 110 mph.
B) with both hands on the wheel.
C) while steering with your left knee.
D) while writing a journal entry on a palm pilot.

If you guessed 'B', you didn't send this email. If you think that is
stupid, wait until I tell you why I was taking a driving test in the
first place...

As I said before, I'm speeding across the country on I-40 East.  Sooner
or later, myself and my car are going to end up in Philadelphia, and
while The City of Brotherly Love may welcome me with open arms, her law
enforcement personnel are going to want to know why my tags expired
nine months ago.

I've been driving around with Pennsylvania plates since I got the car
in April of 1999. I haven't actually lived in PA since...oh, say...high
school. The Tustin police force was starting to get real nosy about my
lack of California tags, but I don't fear them like I fear
Pennsylvanian State Troopers. With Thanksgiving only a few days away, I
figured I had better get moving on getting legal plates if I was to
drive across the country in December.

Off I went to the Santa Ana DMV. I explained my plight to the lady at
the information desk, and she pushed two forms across the counter. "Get
your California driver's license first, then stand in that line over
there to register your vehicle."

Aha. Simple. What a relief.

So I sat myself down in the driver licensing line and filled out my
paperwork amidst the chatter of Spanish all around. Name, address,
social security, current license number...wait in line, get picture
taken, pay my twelve dollars. Next step, take the written test.
Apparently it's mandatory, so I settle in to get it done.

Let me tell you, I have a new found respect for Californian drivers. I
passed...barely. That test was HARD. But, after sweating out whether it
was more dangerous to drive while wearing headphones during the day or
sunglasses during the night, I turned in my test for processing.  All
that remained was to hand over my current license.

...naturally, my current license had vanished in the last 15 minutes.

Seriously. The damned thing just vaporized sometime between filling in
the paperwork and taking the test, and its loss made a process that was
going swimmingly grind to a complete halt. I scoured the hallways,
retraced my steps. Gone, gone, gone.

I didn't know what to say, and the DMV monkeys didn't know what to do.
After some deliberation, the old chinese guy behind the counter decided
that it would be best for me to get a new license from Pennsylvania,
and then immediately surrender it for the Californian version. Oh,
sure. As an alternative, he pressed a sheet of information about taking
the driving test into my hand...technically, he explained, I had just
earned a California learner's permit, so that was always an option.

I had visions of a fat, armed peace officer in my passenger seat,
screwing with the air conditioner and making sure I come to a complete
and noticable stop while he picks his nose and wipes it under my seat.

That settled that. After driving home illegally with my learner's
permit, I got on the horn with the PA Department of Transportation. The
lady I talked with at PENNDOT was calm enough about my woes; she could
happily provide me with proof of licensure, once I sent back a form
they could fax to me.

Faxing this initial form would take, of course, three to five business
days. Very efficient.

At any rate, after spending more time at the DMV with Mexicans and
freaks than I had at my apartment (uh...with Mexicans and freaks), I
managed to wrestle the sinister beast of bueracracy to the ground,
slither out of her red tape tentacles, and claim a license and
registration as a prize. Amen.

The moral of the story seems to be this: if it's a challenge to do,
it's not worth doing. Get a bus schedule.

Anyhow, I hope everyone's having a merry Christmas, happy Chanukah,
groovy Kwanzaa, and a bitchin' Boxing Day. Or whatever.

Even though I'm land-bound, here is some more Airline Ettiquette to
keep the spirit of travel. Hey, why not? It's been awhile...

- If you want to see what it's like to live well, open up that SkyMall
catalog in the seat back in front of you, and peruse all the wonderful
toys they sell, like kitchen utilities, nosehair removal systems, and
collectable coins from the Franklin Mint. Rich people own at least one
of every item in this catalog. If you aren't an avid SkyMall shopper,
you will never be invited to a party at the Playboy mansion.

- 38 hours of driving, straight, will alleviate any fear you've ever
had about flying. Trust me on this one.


a visual update.
written 2001-01-05 21:43:41

Webcam is up, so you can all see me screwing off at work.


More on why my apartment blows.
written 2001-01-23 19:05:07

Today, I awoke to the sounds of electric saws.

Apparently, the apartment next to mine had some sort of leak, and one of
the repairmen let himself into my apartment to find that the leak affects
me, too.

Whole kitchen flooded overnight, apparently, and when I woke up, they were
cutting through the kitchen wall to see what's wrong.

The words "sewer leak" were mentioned. I hope that doesn't mean I'll be
making dinner in raw sewage tonight.


...something about a silver-burdened horse...?
written 2001-03-30 15:23:24

Some news. Pay careful attention.

As of today, I am no longer employeed by Loki Software, Inc.

I have journal entries (and believe me, shit's been interesting
recently. :)  ) that will be sent out when I get organized again, but as
my address list is becoming outdated, I'm scrapping it and starting
over. I've got a lot of addresses that have changed or been shut down,
not to mention that it's been so long that some people have probably
just lost interest in my life.

If you want to get more journal entries, please send me a line. Tell
your friends, too, because I don't know if everyone on my list is even
getting this email. will probably go down sooner or later, and I'm in search
of a new home for it.

Do not reply to this address as it will be shut down in a few minutes; I
can be contacted at (as opposed to,
effective immediately, and will send further correspondence from there.

Thank y'all, and see you soooner or later.

--ryan. (

"Exercising the Adventure Muscle"
written 2001-04-04 00:32:04

My journal hasn't been drawing to a close so much as dying a slow death. I
will give a full disclosure at a later time, but for now, let it suffice
to say that about all I have to my name is the crumbled remains of a
broken lease and a somewhat less self-esteem than I had when I started
writing journal entries. The last 1.3 years, while rewarding in many ways,
has also been a very humbling experience, taken as a whole.

And as things got worse and worse for me in California, I did what any
person with nothing but desperation does: I fled to Europe. At least
that's what every desperate person SHOULD do.

This journal entry isn't about Link

A word from my sponsor.
written 2001-04-06 05:16:54

Like every downtrodden hacker, I'm more interested in working for myself
than anyone else. Now that I'm jobless, I've been mulling over possible
business ventures. Game companies? Children's educational software? Maybe
write The Great American Novel? Full time blood donation?

Lord, I'm willing to do anything but work for The Man. Repeat after me:
Our Father Who Art In Heaven, please Please PLEASE don't make me work for
another dot-com startup. Don't make me write abstract relational database
interfaces. Don't make me enhance some fool's E-BUSINESS. Lead us not unto
corporate whoring, but deliver us from the Big Swinging Dicks of


I was sitting at Andrew's house last week, waiting until I could leave
California. For the most part, I sat in front of a dialup 'net connection
and drooled.

Check email. Check the 'chat rooms. Sift through for a goof.
Slashdot. Newsgroups. Check the time. Repeat.

Amid all that reduced brain activity, an email drifted into my ol' Hotmail
account from Rob, a friend from college and Charlotte. Aha. I perk up. As
the banner advertisement dithers in, I scan the body of the letter. To
paraphrase: "Hey, remember your ex-girlfriend Heather? She's getting

For those that rolled their eyes the first time through this rant, please
don't hit "delete" yet. I like to think I can grow and learn at least at
the same rate as a Furby, and I have a better outlook now. I'm not angry
at the world for maturing around me, although it bothers me that Heather
of all people managed to be more socially attractive than me and hook a
mate, but I can let that go. Poof. It's gone.

Okay, it fuckin' bothers me. So what?

I'm trying to pinpoint the nerve. Is it a fear of change? That seems to be
a theme in my life right now...maybe a fear of OTHERS changing? Maybe I
want people that aren't with me anymore to be bitter, loveless old maids
forever. It's not fair of me, and I don't CONSCIOUSLY wish that, but maybe
that's it. Karie (from the last rant) certainly had better options right
off the bat, and she's married now. Just had her first anniversary, I'm
honestly pleased to announce. Becky (my second serious girlfriend,
depending on who's definition of "serious" you choose), just got married a
few months ago. She wasn't going to take very long to find better options;
nobody even joked to the contrary, and she didn't, and good for her.
Heather (number three), well, that took me off guard.

Blahblahblah. It's not important. I'm talking about BUSINESS VENTURES
here, after all, and I think I've found an ideal means of avoiding
designing yet-another-customer-relationship-management-software-package to
make rent.

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to announce the grand opening of the Ryan
C. Gordon Marriage Clinic.

Want to get married within the next five years? All you have to do is have
sex with me. I now have irrefutable proof that I am capable of endowing
women with phermones that make them IRRESISTABLE to men from all walks of
life. Afraid of being a bitter old lady with 50 cats in her apartment, who
watches Lifetime television and dreams of the day that Fabio will come to
sweep her away? Not a problem. Here at the Ryan C. Gordon Marriage Clinic,
our trained technicians can prepare you for a life of matrimonial bliss.

Think it'll work?  I wonder if I can find some venture capital for it.
That might be hard, as the concept doesn't have the words, "Java",
"embedded technology", or "Linux" in it anywhere, so the usual VCs might
be put off, but then again, the business plan has the word "sex" in it, so
a few of you are probably reaching for your wallets right now purely by
instinct. Eat your heart out, Larry Flynt.


I do think the last year has been uh, educational at worst, but it sure as
heck strangled some relationships. Overall, I'm the prime candidate for
the lonely idiot with the house full of cats, and not people like Heather.
Heather and I had an odd relationship, that started oddly, and ended odder
still. Hey, she's an odd girl. But does that mean there isn't a match for
her out there? The crime here is really that, consciously this time, I
really believed there wasn't such an entity. Apparently I was wrong, but
it doesn't make the belief any more...right? Good? Correct?

Maybe I should dwell less on other people's love lives, and dwell on
me. On the here. And now.


So, I think I'll continue down this corporate line of thought. All my
ex-Loki compatriots are wondering how you meet women in a foreign city,
where there's really no place to go if you don't like chillin' in bars. I
think it just needs is that good ol' corporate bureaucracy to push it on
down the line: so here's a resume for all you eligible ladies in the

RYAN C. GORDON      1152 Chickasaw Circle

    To find a soul mate, if not a physical one, that lets me
    employ my skills in a creative environment.

    BA in field mostly unrelated to interests in life.

  Relevant Skills:
    Very self-deprecating.
    Potentially upwardly mobile.
    Capable of coherent thought, and occasional artistic expression.
    Thinks the Three Stooges are stupid.
    Can dress self.
    Phenominal beyond words as a lover.
    Doesn't think you're fat.

  References upon request.


The Adventure Muscle, part two.
written 2001-04-25 03:39:08

I have been called, on occasion, a world traveler. I won't pretend that
I'm some sort of hardened Indiana Jones spending my days skimming the
globe, but I do know enough about the world to pass on one universal

Hotels only wash the bedsheets, and not the bedspread that goes over top
of them.

Paying attention? Good. What this means to you, as a potential world
traveller, is that you should always crawl under ALL the sheets, not just
that top layer. After all, even in dignified business hotels, there's
going to some dignified businessmen who will use any convenient part of
the bed to mop up body fluids, which I discovered when I awoke the next
morning in San Francisco with the blankets wrapped around my head. There
are some smells that are distinctly less pleasant when encountered
second-hand, especially first thing in the morning.

After I finished scrubbing several layers of skin off my face in the
shower, Greg and I made a gameplan. We had 22 hours to experience as much
of San Francisco as we could get our hands on, whether we liked it or not,
because we were minutes away from being homeless; there were no hotel
reservations left, so it would be us verses the cold, cruel world until
our flights took off around 10a.m. the next morning.

Off we went. First stop: IHOP. Why be homeless on an empty stomach?

While chewing on my gardenburger, I flipped through a San Francisco
tourbook. This was really the first chance I had to do any research on the
town; what the hell is there to do in San Francisco, anyhow? As far as I
could tell, the most notable places were Haight-Ashbury (the drug
district) and Castro Street (the gay district). I could tell right from
the start that Greg would rather swallow feces than visit those places,
but it's a friend's duty to lead his pals into dens of vice and
corruption, and if nothing else, I'm fiercely loyal. Besides, spending the
day discussing drug abuse and mansex would be good preparation for a
college reunion.

Across the street from the cable cars that would carry us back to the bay,
we came across a bit of sidewalk with several unfolded card tables. The
tables were prepared with chess boards, and all sorts of strange pairings
were facing off over the various sets of pieces, while passerbys stopped
to comment and cheer. This was too cool; Greg and I claimed an empty table
and began arranging the pieces. A homeless guy stopped us and warned that
it costs 50 cents per game to use the tables. I'm not sure if that was a
scam, but it was well worth the money to whoop Greg's ass publically. Then
again, this was nothing compared to my agonizing air hockey defeat at his
hands later that night, but y'know, let's not get to gloating, here.

Off we sped. Wearied by the travelling and overwhelmed by my charming
influence, I managed to herd Greg onto a tram to, quite literally, the bad
side of the tracks.

Castro Street is, in more ways than one, miles apart from the Bay. After
about 45 minutes of riding a tram (which is sort of like a train mixed
with start-and-stop traffic), you start to notice something really
disgusting. First, it's the rainbow flags that line the street. Then,
you'll doubt that the girl you just passed in that lovely evening gown was
really female. By the time you get to Castro Street proper, you will have
no doubt come face to face with one of the real abominations personally.

I'm not talking about the gay men. I'm talking about the advertisements
for gay, lesbian, and transgender BANKING SERVICES.

No joke. I say let men bugger each other if that's their thing. But, my
God. When Martin Luther King said he had a dream, was he envisioning a
more convenient ATM card for African-Americans? When Moses cried to
Pharoah, "let my people go," was he preparing an exodus to the land of
milk, honey, and equity trading? One of the many scary things about being
a minority is not just that it targets you for prejudice, but also for
marketing campaigns. One of the stores we past was called "Gay Cleaners."

That aside, Castro Street definitely qualifies as the Emerald City.
Everywhere in the world, everyone has been to that overpriced,
overcultural corner of the city that your friends mockingly call "The Gay
District."  Castro Street is the epitome of such places; it is ubergay.
Leather-clad bikers with bad mustaches hold hands with clean cut
businessmen. Lipstick lesbians stand on the street corner kissing bulldog
dykes. A television in the window of a club shows a male stripper's
performance. The second story window of a piercings store displays a
semi-erect, neon penis.

Ignore the homosexuality, and Castro is still very, very queer. It is a
perfect monument to fetishism, hedonism, and individualism. It is not so
much art as it is expression, and it is not so much depraved as it is
uninhibited. It is beautifully terrifying and revoltingly inviting.

...And the food is good. The sun was setting, and considering the
environment, I figured that Thai food would be an appropriate dinner.
After all, Thailand is reknown around the world as the best place to go if
you want to purchase a young boy of high quality at a reasonable price. I
wonder if QVC has gotten wind of this.

Haight-Ashbury was a disappointing tourist trap, on the other hand. The
highlight of that street was the teenager who had stuffed himself into a
trashcan and begged for change from the unwitting passerbys. It was a
brilliant, if not unfortunate, parody of the thousands of homeless people
that accosted us throughout the day.

Next, it was back to the arcades for
thathorribleairhockeydefeatimentioned(*cough*). Anyhow. There were other
arcades to be seen, like the Sony Meteron, which is very much like a
five-story advertisement for the PlayStation. Unlike London's SegaWorld,
however, every inch of the Meteron sucks, with one accidental exception.

The exception: Dance Dance Revolution.

For those that haven't seen this game firsthand, here's the gist. There
are spots for two players in front of a video screen. Each player has four
FOOT buttons that control an on-screen dancer that dances well if the
right button gets stomped at the right time, and dances poorly otherwise.
Players stomp in sync to vaugely familiar techno beats. To be honest, the
game itself kinda blows, but watching people play it is downright
hypnotising. Go and find an arcade that has one of these machines, and
bring a video camera.

The Meteron eventually closed for the evening. I keep hearing about these
cities that never sleep. I've seen New York, London, and Paris. They all
sleep. Some go to bed later than others, but there is always a point in
the wee hours of the morning where even the bums go home. San Francisco is
no exception, and Greg and I had no choice but to break back into the
hotel and pretend to be paying customers just to have somewhere to go.

We sat there for the last few hours, watched the management throw out a
bum who was sleeping in a chair ten feet away, and struggled to keep our
eyes open. For once, I was willing to endure white liberal guilt by
letting the hotel staff believe that I had more reason to be on the
premises than the black man they just escorted out.

It's a sick world. All these damned homeless people everywhere. When I got
back to Orange County, after Greg and I staggered onto our flights, I
began to make preparations to pack up my apartment and move into the
offices at Loki.


Somewhat homeless.
written 2001-05-03 20:50:15

For a short time, right after college graduation, I was homeless. I wasn't
on the streets, mind you. I slept in my car and in closets and offices at
my old college. I broke into the gym for showers and spent a lot of time
hiding from administrators and rent-a-cops.

I could've swallowed my pride and crashed at a friend's place, and did
eventually, but I hate to impose, and honestly, it was sorta fun. That
goes to show what sort of influence a sheltered life like mine has on the
definition of "fun."

Like I said, I never had to resort to sleeping on a sewer grate, so take
that for what it's worth. When I found work as a hacker at Sales Vision,
the joke was that I was, by far, the most well-paid bum in Charlotte.

Little did I know at the time that I would be returning to my starting
position only a year and a half later.

Not long after my return from San Francisco, my roommate Daniel left for a
job in Raleigh, as a hacker for Epic Games. There was no way I could have
afforded my crappy, overpriced apartment alone, so when Daniel left, we
decided to break the lease. And good riddence; I had experienced my share
of sewage leaks, crumbling ceilings, and screaming kids. Daniel packed all
his stuff into two suitcases and hopped a plane for North Carolina. I
packed my stuff into Daniel's abandoned car and drove straight to Loki.

Once again, I was the highest paid bum in town.

As time dragged on, the car got sold and I had packaged my stuff to be
mailed to my parents' house. My car was sitting in Pennsylvania with a
flat tire, and I was starting to get tired of sleeping on a futon and
walking a few miles to shower at Bernd's apartment. When I started to make
plans to get my work done as fast as possible and then humbly bow out, I
was asked to go to Sweden, which is another story. For now, let me state
what I was asked versus what was meant versus what I heard:

...I was told...

"We have a very important deal that requires your skills in Sweden."


"We have a very important deal in Sweden, and you are the most expendable
coder left."

...sounded like...

"Hey, want a free trip to Europe?"

Needless to say, I signed right on.

In preparing for travel abroad, I have a standard ritual I always go
through. I fill my backpack up. I try to fill it with stuff I'll actually
be carrying, but anything with equivalent bulk and weight will do. Then I
put on my hiking boots, coat, hat...anything that I'd probably be wearing
as I wander around that foreign country. This is designed to be
preperation for the worst-case scenario; if I can't walk a few miles in
too-hot clothing with too much weight on my back now, then how would I do
it when I have no other choice?

This has, I am certain, saved my butt on more than one trip. If nothing
else, it reinforces the primary rule of travel: if you can't carry your
own luggage, no one else is going to either, so you damn well better know
your limitations.

There is, however, a big difference between theory and practice. In
theory, I was testing my limitations. In practice, I was a guy dressed for
winter in Sweden walking across Southern California with everything I
owned strapped to my back.

It must have looked comical. A guy in a Mercedes pulled over next to me as
I trudged down El Camino Real. He rolled down his passenger side window,
and I saw that he was a young, clean cut man with what seemed to me to be
a sense of wealth and style. He seemed the sort that would have been
instantly popular in just about any crowd. And he asked me:

"Hey, where are you going?"
"Uh, down the road," was my witty reply.
"Yeah, but where are you going TO?"

I still didn't understand, but at this point my assumption was that he was
some sort of chickenhawk trying to pick up a long-haired whiteboy.

"I'm just going down the road."
"Are you homeless?"
"No," I lied, badly.
"Ok, I just wanted to make sure you had somewhere to go. I used to live on
the street, so I wanted to make sure you had somewhere to go."
"Oh, well thanks."

"Take care of yourself," he said, nodded, and started to drive off.
Stunned by what I just heard, all I could manage to squeak out was, "hey,
wait!" He stopped, and looked out at me again with that super-popular
smile. In my bafflement, it took a moment to find a sentence.

"Are you really...concerned about me?"
"Yeah. Like I said, I used to live on the streets, so I just wanted to
make sure you were safe."
"Sir, that is the COOLEST thing I've ever heard."

I meant it, too. He gave me one more of those popularity smiles and sped
off, leaving me filled with thousands of unanswered questions.


The Icculus World Tour 2001 hits Europe.
written 2001-05-08 05:09:00

...and then, without fanfare, I left for Sweden.

Scandinavian Airlines gives you a nice, but distinctly non-vegetarian
meal. As I scraped the beef gravy off of my boiled potatoes, I looked more
carefully at the condiment packets. The one made of blue paper read, "The
color of snow, the flavor of tears, the enormity of oceans." That was the
salt packet. The other one read, "Pepper has long been called, 'the gift
of the orient.' Don't let the fact that 'gift' is Swedish for 'poison'
stop you."

Needless to say, it stopped me dead in my tracks. I hate airline food.

Some sleep, The Legend of Bagger Vance, and Rugrats in Paris later, I
landed in Copenhagen. About this time it occured to me that I never got a
chance to do any research on Sweden. None. None at all. I looked at my
flight ticket for the first time and discovered I was bound for a city
named Link

Will work for bandwidth.
written 2001-07-02 15:19:31

I haven't written lately, so I thought I'd let y'all know that:

a) I'm in America
b) I'm not in Sweden, and haven't been for awhile
c) I'm still an unemployed bum.

Real journal entry later. Honest.

In the meantime,'s back up. This means back issues of the
journal ( and the ever-popular webcam
( are available again. Amen. Thanks to Chris at
The Cyberspace Matrix ( for the


It could have been a brilliant career.
written 2001-07-24 22:17:41

(Anyone that's been reading Slashdot has probably figured out what I was
doing in Sweden. I was there for most of March, and the San Francisco
thing I talked about was in January. I left Loki at the end of March, and
besides some side trips to various parts of the country, I have been in
Philadelphia. This journal's gonna jump around a little as I continue to
play catch up. Stay tuned.  --Ed.)


I've been craving chocolate, cookie dough Blizzards.

Recently I've been wandering over to Dairy Queen almost every night to
satisfy my craving. It all started when I was told that, despite the name
of the store, there's nothing Dairy in Dairy Queen ice cream. No milk.
None. Naturally, I had to find out if this was true, in the name of
Science, of course, and y'know how it goes. You start with the soft stuff:
Dilly Bars and those hand-dipped cones, but before long, you're playing
with the big boys and sucking down 8-balls of Peanut Buster Parfaits.
Before you know it you find yourself on the wrong side of the tracks,
giving blowjobs to strangers in a dirty bathroom to get your next Blizzard

At any rate, there is a girl working there that used to go to my high
school, and she's been working there every time I've visited Philadelphia
since at least 1995. Maybe she was even working there before I graduated
from high school.

I wanted to scoff at her under my breath for her...uh, lack of ambition,
but then I had to examine my hypocrisy; after all, the only REAL
difference between this girl and myself is that she gets a steady

Also, she may not be living with her parents.

Also, her cat's litter box might not be three to four inches from her bed.

So I thought about getting a job. Then I took a deep breath, played some
Crazy Taxi, and the thought passed, but only briefly. I have discovered
the horrible truth of "doing your own thing," which is code for, "refusing
to get a job," and that is, simply, that Doing Nothing Is Expensive. All
those late-night cups of coffee at 24-hour diners were adding up, and when
Geico sent me a cheerful reminder that my next car insurance bill was
closing in, I wept for the death of my savings account, which has been
somewhat anemic for quite awhile now.

So, I decided it was time for some upward mobility. And the path to untold
riches is education, right?

(I couldn't help but notice everyone with student loans just hit the
Delete button on this email. The rest of you still with me? Good.)

So, I enrolled at the prestigious Bucks County Community College, where
I'm making my way once again through EDUC101, also known as "Intro to
Teaching", which is BETTER known as, "So You Want to be a Teacher, Huh?"

Let me summarize this course. You can take it anywhere in the country, and
get the same basic synapsis.

a) Those in charge of Education (the "dimwits") have no idea what the hell
   they're doing. The only ones that do are the teachers themselves. The
   dimwits only concern themselves with the bottom line: The end result
   for the dimwits is not the product, but how much the product cost to make.
b) The teachers themselves are permently restricted from doing the
   right thing by the dimwits. Regardless of what position a given dimwit
   holds, in any given teacher's mind, the dimwit is a Neanderthal. No
   one tries to enhance the teacher's ability to teach, because sooner
   or later the teacher will get fired, sued, shot, or just plain old
   starve, in which case, the dimwits surmise, why should we expend the
   resources on those pesky teachers in the first place?
c) The students don't care what the teachers do, because it's all the
   same unproductive and/or annoying hazing session to them. The teachers
   don't care what the students do, since more interaction with a student
   means more likelihood of being fired, sued, or shot. The dimwits don't
   care what the teachers do, so long as they don't get sued, because
   sooner or later, they'll be fired, shot, or starve, which means more
   money available for whatever dimwits like to spend money on, which is
   nothing at all.
d) The only thing dimwits like to spend money on, apparently, is football.
   The only reason that dimwits spend money on Arts Education is in the
   hope that one of the students in the school-financed drumline will
   accidentally be killed by an offsides football player, which means
   cost reduction of bussing and cafeteria plans.

If you haven't developed a certain sense of hopelessness by this point,
then think like a dimwit for a moment: if you were a professional video
game programmer and went to teach highschool, even in the most highly paid
districts in America, you've taken a several thousand dollar pay cut. If
you work in the Dakotas, you've cut your salary in half, and you get laid
off for three months every year.

But we're not dimwits, so money's not important to us, right?


If you've managed to get through all of that, then there may be a position
for YOU in teaching.

In the meantime, the Dimwit in me has taken to contract work.

Let me explain this briefly. Contract work comes from a few different
venues. First, you might get an email from someone to the extent of this:

  SUBJECT: Still looking?

     Saw a posting on that you are looking for a job. My
   company is looking for someone to implement casino poker machines as a
   Netscape plugin, and we think you'd be a good choice for the job.


This is actually a trick. If you write back to them, they will NEVER talk
to you again. Instead, you should play hard to get, in which case they
still won't respond to you again, but at least you've saved yourself the
trouble of typing a response in the first place. The second type might be

  SUBJECT: Job offer

     Saw a posting on that you are looking for a job. We'd
    like to have you port our program to Linux, but we can't pay you
    anything for it. Interested?


This is NOT a trick; it's way too direct, and they are serious. Like I
said, we're not dimwits, so money's not important, right? Hey, there's a
million NCGs (New College Graduates) that think hard, unrewarding work
doesn't have to pay well if it will look good on a resume. These people
tend to starve with the teachers. It's a form of Darwinism.

Finally, there's the way I got the current contract I'm hacking on, which
is much like how everyone else gets their jobs:

  SUBJECT: Job offer

    My boss Theodore told me to hire someone, and I suspect that, while
   your work ethic is generally mediocre, you will work for cheap and
   probably  WON'T screw the pooch on any assignments we give you. Where
   can we send a check?

      --guy you used to work with.

Needless to say, all you need to read in that email is "where can we send
the check." That's MY generally mediocre work ethic shining through.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go study and write a Netscape plugin
at the same time.


Your moment of Zen...
written 2001-12-13 01:59:38

On I-85 south, somewhere in Burlington, North Carolina, there's a
billboard with a picture of the Statue of Liberty. The text has partially
fallen off in the weather, and now reads:

  "America the Beautiful: Our Home, Sweet Ho"

A political message, no doubt.


Fact. Fiction.
written 2001-12-13 02:13:02

I want to tell you a dirty story.

It's not really dirty, per se, but since it involves 13 year-old girls, we
might as well pigeonhole it from the get-go.

I spent a good portion of this semester at a gameshop that a friend of
mine owns. It's a nice little setup: a bunch of high-powered computers are
hooked up to a high-powered Internet connection, and kids stream in to
play networked games for three bucks an hour. Think of this as the next
generation of the arcade.

Every Friday, the kids stream in for the "Lock In". This event starts at
9:00p.m. and goes for twelve hours. During this time, they gourge
themselves on junk food and become zombie-slaves to violent video games
with names like "Diablo II" and "Dark Age of Camelot". It's not so bad,
honestly. These kids could be out gang-banging or shooting heroin into
their eyeballs or having sex with each other, but for twelve hours, they
can be knights or heroes or counter-terrorists.

Unfortunately, the other 156 hours of the week are fair game.

For example, there's Will. Will is a big dude, especially considering he's
13. He must weigh at least 250 pounds, and is a professional
mouth-breather. Will could kill me if he had to, which is no good, as he's
inclined to homicide as a form of conflict management. One Friday, he's
sitting outside smoking a cigarette, and a police car drives by. Will
says, "Good thing that pig didn't see me, since I'm still on probation."

I say, "Probation, Will? Why are you on probation?"
Will says, "Attempted murder."
Will says, "This kid was talkin' shit about my sister, so I took his head
and slammed it into a desk again and again."
Will says, "I would've killed his bitch-ass if they didn't pull me off him."

I wasn't there to see this, but I imagine a thousand Lilliputian teachers
trying to restrain Will while his bloodied opponent reconsiders his stance
on the sister's promiscuities. I let the subject drop, since, y'know, 13
year-olds tend to exaggerate.

Word travels faster than greased lightning. A few days later, I hear two
nine year-olds at the vending machine discussing the dude from Lenape
Middle School who tried to kill some other dude for making fun of his
sister. Needless to say, Will's at the top of this odd food chain, and the
villagers are singing folk songs about his legendary exploits.

On the other end of the food chain is Rob. Rob is a runt, for lack of a
nicer word. He, despite being the same age as Will, is tiny in comparison.
He's got the Mommy's Bowl Cut hair and his voice suggests that he is still
outrunning puberty. Rob hangs out with Will at the Lock-Ins, for some
reason beyond my comprehension, since as far as I can tell, Will only pays
attention to Rob long enough to swat him, which seems fitting, since one
is a horse and the other is a mosquito.

I promised this is a story about 13 year-old girls, however, and I won't
disappoint. This is really a story about Rachel.

Rachel is an anomaly at the gameshop. Generally speaking, there is a
rather narrow demographic that patronizes the store. Most of the kids are
white, male, eighth or ninth graders. Most of them are maladjusted, and
some of them you will recognize from their yearbook photo on the news next
time there's a school shooting. After all, Columbine was blamed on violent
video games and the Internet, and, at three dollars an hour, these boys
have both in abundance.

To be fair, Columbine was blamed, by the more rational observer, on poor
parenting and a lack of decent role models. If the stories I'm told are to
be believed, these kids get that whether they've got their three bucks or
not. Rachel is no exception; she's another creature that is misunderstood
by her teachers, by her parents, by everyone. Or so she says. Perhaps she
is just really bad at making a good first impression, and is thus
misjudged. When I first met Rachel, she came to the Lock In wearing a
Catholic school girl's dress (that is inaccurate; in reality, this skirt
would make a nun blush), and said to me, "Hey you, if you could say one
thing to the world, what would it be?"

Ah. How better to develop a picture of an individual than with their
answer to THAT question!

I say, "Do I get one sentence, or can I have a whole paragraph?"
I say, "I think I'd need to think about it. I have a lot to say."
I say, "What would YOU say, Rachel?"

Rachel does not think; she has an answer prepared. Rachel says, "I'll tell
you what I'd say. I'd say WHITE FUCKIN' POWER!"

Some stories you just can't make up.

It is easy to label Rachel as dumb, but I think that's inaccurate. Rachel
may be dumb, but if so, she's the smartest dumb girl you'll ever meet.
Every word she uttered made me cringe.

Rachel says, "Let me tell you about how I threw a pair of scissors at my
teacher today."
Rachel says, "Let me tell you about this boy I'm stalking."
Rachel says, "Let me tell you about my time in a nuthouse."

Still, Rachel knows that no matter what drops out of her mouth, she is
still swimming in a sea of greasy cock, and the hordes of 13 year-old boys
will shower her with adulation for twelve hours straight, once a week. I'd
call that entrepreneurial, honestly.

Will and Rob and Rachel form a sort of clique. This popularity planet is,
on and off throughout the night, orbited by more distant satellites. I
call this the "Smoker's circle", as most of the orbiting is done while
huffing Camels out in front of the store.

One Friday night, Will decides to walk down the road to the convenience
store. Rob tags along, as does one our satellites, Dave. Dave is 15 or so,
and considerably more mature. Keep this in mind for later.

If you're unfamiliar with Main Street in Doylestown, the Wawa's about
three blocks away, separated by a few bars. Being Friday night, these bars
tend to have some people hopping between them, and yes, a few of these
people are attractive young women. Right near the Wawa, our little solar
system sees one such attractive woman, and accosts her.

Will says, "Check out the tits on that chick!"
Rob says, "Yo, bitch, why don't you come over here and suck my dick?"
Dave, to his credit, says nothing.

I need not tell you that this poor woman did not find this funny. Moreso,
the boyfriend to her right didn't, either. I wasn't there to see this, but
I imagine a large man with a crew-cut and a marine's jacket, punching his
fists together and walking determinedly across the street.

Will says, "Fuck!" and runs.
Rob says, "Shit!" and runs.
Dave, to his credit, says "I'm sorry!" and raises his hands in surrender.

I am first aware of this is when I see Will and Rob hotfooting it back to
the gameshop. I had seen three trek off, and then I saw two scramble back.
In general, when you see someone as large as Will move that fast, you
should deduce that something is horribly wrong. I assumed that Dave was
arrested or dead.

Will, breathing heavy, told me what happened, while Rob squeaked in the
missed details, bobbing and weaving through the tale to get a word in.

Dave came back near the end of the story, shaking his head. When the
Marine had approached him, Dave calmed him down, told him that his friends
were jerks and that it wasn't right. The Marine even apologized, and went
on his way, honor restored to his fair lady.

Will concluded his retelling with, "Y'know, I didn't WANT to get into a
fight, but if I had to...I'd've kicked his ass."
Rob concurred, "Yeah!  I'd've beat some ass, too. I'd've STOMPED him."
Dave, to his credit, just shook his head.

Rachel, on the other hand, was getting visibly angry. If it had been just
a few degree colder, I think I might have seen smoke coming out of her ears.

Rob and Will walked around the corner of the building to continue their
discussion on how they would have easily bested this marine in
hand-to-hand combat. Rachel continued to fume, until, unable to sit
anymore, she rises and says to me, "Can you believe that shit?"

I shrug. I let the subject drop, since, y'know, 13 year-olds tend to

Rachel walks over to the corner of the building and calls to Rob. Rob is
still busy describing the Dragon Ninja Death Move he was planning to
unleash on the marine. Rachel calls again, more sweetly. "Rob, honey, can
I tell you something?"

Rob comes around the corner and asks, "what?" Rachel answers, "this," and
throws Rob into a headlock. She then smashes his head into the wall, knees
him in the stomach, and leaves him for dead on the ground.

Rachel screams, "I'm a thirteen year-old girl and I kicked your ass, you pussy!"

Some stories you just can't make up.

Justice being served, Rachel went back inside to play some more
CounterStrike, confident in the knowledge that Rob would have a more
sensitive view of how to approach women in the future. I'm not sure I
condone such vigilantism, but somehow, I do approve.


Your moment of Zen (or: "Wang" is always funny).
written 2002-08-12 14:26:45

In Stockholm, Sweden, a few blocks from the city center, there is a
restaurant called "Chinese Wang", across the street from an alternative
clothing store named "Cum". Those zany Swedes.


Bork. Bork. Bork.
written 2002-08-12 15:42:23

Hmm...not only did I not put a "[journal]" tag on that last email, I also
managed to send everyone's address in the clear. See, spend a week being
treated like a stupid American and you start to become one. It's an
international Pygmalion effect.

So here I am in Sweden. I was sort of rushed over here, and now I'm being
held against my will. Seriously. I'll get to that later.

But now, after sitting on my duff for months ("Hey, Ryan, why hasn't there
been a journal entry in months?"  "Because I don't do anything
interesting."), suddenly I'm running around the country in a mad fit of
Linux consultancy work. Who'd've thought that there'd suddenly be a demand
for...well, for me. I've even got the big-ass beard so clients will
immediately recognize me as a Unix hacker. I debated not showering, too,
but decided against it. Still, I have to laugh at all the "real"
consultants and contractors that have to show up at their jobs wearing
suits and ties. Today I'm sitting in an office wearing Converse high tops,
a Che Guaverra T-shirt, and a pair of jeans where the crotch is about to
rip out. And I'm getting paid for it.

Er, I'm getting paid for the work, not the crotch thing. Just to be clear.

I'm in Stockholm. A game company out here needs some work done, and under
no circumstances will they send me the source code, which makes it hard to
actually do any work. Instead, they decide to fly me out here on a
moment's notice and work on site. Much cheaper, no doubt. Companies with
money worry me.

So I race up from North Carolina, where I'm working on another contract in
Raleigh, hop a plane in Philadelphia, and a few in-flight movies later,
I'm sitting in London Heathrow.

Here's the thing about British Airways: if you haven't seen the
commercials, I need to tell you: The seats. The friggin' seats! They fold
_completely_ down to be a horizontal bed. They have modern movies (I'm
talking Spiderman and such...has that even been released in Europe yet?
I opted for "The Shipping News" and "I am Sam"...I regretfully declined
"The Goonies"), and overall, it was the fastest trans-atlantic flight I've
ever taken. We got stuck on the runway in Philly for over and hour and I
was happy about it. Think of these planes the way Ferris Bueller describes
Cameron's Dad's car. It's _so_ choice.

Stockholm itself has, as far as I can tell, one notable feature: this is
where they do that whole Nobel Prize thing. Since I won't be seeing that,
they best I can do is just soak in the general culture.

The people of Sweden are beautiful. Even the ugly ones. It's all blonde
hair and blue eyes and perfect figures that you see on the covers of
American magazines that inspire eating disorders. This seems strange to
me, since the daily Swedish diet is's all fat. You'd think
that you couldn't subsist on lard, but Sweden proves you wrong...and Dr.
Atkins laughs all the way to the bank.

Truth be told, it's pretty difficult to be a vegetarian in a country where
you can't read the menus. Fortunately, Sweden is a pretty
vegetarian-friendly country, over all. When I was living in Linkoping last
year, someone told me that I came from America: "The Land of Meat".
Linkoping, in its microscopic city center, has a McDonalds staring at a
Burger King. I'm not sure if that guy was a hypocrite or a victim of a
cultural drive-by. The crew at Nokia, the reason for my trip to Linkoping,
told me about how their favourite watering hole, a McDonalds on the
outskirts of town (hmm...maybe not the victims afterall) was burned to the
ground by a militant group of vegans. I shrugged my shoulders; it sounded
less like political action and more like the voice of Good Taste speaking
to me.

That was then, and this is now, a little more than a year and many
kilometers away, and I've learned the finer points of vegetarian dining in
Sweden: you can always count on Falafel and Pizza. Falafel comes with
everything green that's nearby piled on top of it, and pizza comes with
"Pizza Salad" which is kinda like cole slaw without the mayonnaise...a
shredded cabbage thing drowned in oil, vinegar, and other spices. I tried
to explain that this doesn't really qualify as salad by any stretch of the
imagination, but nonetheless, it was there. And it was good.

Anywhere you go in the world, you need to be very observant. Watch what
other people do, in case you need to do it yourself. In New York, it's
illegal to ride in the front passenger seat of a taxi, but if you don't in
Sweden, you're weird. Looking around the restaurant, there were people
putting this cole-slaw-salad on their pizza. I opted to be weird. It's
good by itself...and I did see others eating it this way eventually. I
wonder if I was a trend setter.

So I'm sitting at a table outside this pizza joint, chewing on cabbage and
sipping Swedish Coke (which is like an oversugared, less carbonated
version of American coke...Pepsi is better here, but more rare), watching
a kid dance barefoot in a doorway where I watched a drunken club-hopper
piss the night before. Urination is a public event here, I swear. Over the
weekend, I must have averted my eyes at least twenty times while walking
down the main drag. I even walked past a girl peeing in the bushes on a
side road a few days ago, which is cool in my mind. Pissing in public is
really the first step to women's liberation, if you were to ask me.

There are kids everywhere. All those perfect Swedish genes are going to
good use, I guess. Babies, babies everywhere. Everywhere you go, there's
strollers being pushed by mothers (and fathers! Lots of men pushing baby
carriages...this is the second step to women's liberation, I suppose).
Most staircases have a ramp for strollers. My current theory is that all
these babies are to replace the kids that are killed by diseases they
picked up from dancing barefoot in other people's urine...but that's just
a working theory. Darwin would be proud.

Anyhow, back to work. If I keep rambling like this, I'll never be allowed
to go home.


...and what's funnier than 'wang'?
written 2002-08-16 14:21:57

So there's this fireworks competition going on in Slussen, about a
kilometer from here. We're all up on the roof watching this. It's like
DisneyWorld on crack.

At the end of the show, the night sky is lit up like it was day, and the
noise thunders like the world is ending.

As it comes to an end, in the silence, I say, "Right now, France is
probably surrending."

I think everyone is still laughing. There's your universal truth: forget
the UN, forget international diplomacy. No matter where you go in the
world, everyone makes fun of the French.


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