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Conflicting Extremes

27th September, 2009. 10:13 am. Lost

Yesterday, I went for a jog.  I'd started earlier this year, going two or three times a week.  In the past week and a half, I've been going almost every day.  There is a decent jogging path that runs near my apartment, with a small park nearby.  I usually go for most of the path, then veer off into the park.  Yesterday, I got about half a mile into it when the rain started.  I got soaked to the bone, trying to make it back to my apartment.  A little rain doesn't bother me, but we didn't just have a little rain yesterday.  I trudged through the rain back to my apartment, threw my clothes in the dryer and sat down at my computer. 

At some point, during that time, my friend Phil Clippinger lost control of his car, hit a tree, and died.  He was dying while I was caught in the rain, or maybe as I was drying off.

I cannot measure the loss that I feel.

I will never again hear him talk excitedly about something I don't care about. 

I feel numb.

He was one of my oldest, dearest friends.

I met him for the first time while I was still in high school, while he was in his first year at UGA.  I tell people that I know many of the friends that I have due to Andrew Stallings.  He was a year ahead of me, and went to UGA, where he became a first-class asshole.  He did so immediately.  I blamed the friends he'd made in Athens, and I went there around Thanksgiving break so that I could meet and tell off the people who'd changed him so much.  I quickly learned that his new friends weren't the problem.  Shortly after, he dropped off the face of the planet, never to be seen again (at least by me).  But the people that I met that weekend still remain some of my good friends. 

Phil was the first person I met in Athens, and I spent more time hanging out with him over those first three days I was there than I did with Andrew.  Phil encouraged me to come back and hang out.  I might not even have so many of the friends I do if it weren't for him.

And now he's gone forever.

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27th July, 2009. 11:19 am. updates on me

It's been a while since I've posted anything, so for those of you keeping score, I thought I'd let people know what's going on with me.

Work is going okay.  The real estate industry is struggling, but our company is small and runs pretty lean to begin with.  Plus, the areas hit worst are retail and high-end office, which we don't do a whole lot of.  I'm being told that 2010 will be even worse for real estate, which is disheartening.  But I'm not starving.  Hell, I was able to quit my second job back in December, and I haven't had to crawl back yet.  So that's good news.
Moved into the new apartment.  It was hell, but (as always) I survived with a little help from my friends.  Thanks to Beau Brown and Matt Powell for the assist. 

The new TV comes on Wednesday (in theory).  I'm excited about that.  But between that, paying the movers, paying the new pet fee and buying two new bookcases, I'm kind of broke.

Hopefully, the broke situation will have resolved itself in time for October, when some friends of mine will be going to Las Vegas.  I really want to join them.

Been getting more exercise lately, and not just by carrying boxes of books from one apartment to the other.  I'm in training for December, since my family is planning a trip to Peru.  There is a 4 day, 32 mile hike up to Maccu Piccu that we've learned about.  It's supposed to be one of the most beautiful hikes in the world and I really want to do it.

A lot of my friends are going through the ringer right now.  I feel for them.  The last few years have been increasingly good for me, and I'm sad that so many of my friends aren't in the same state.  Mostly, I'm just trying to be a sympathetic ear, which is all I can do.

I've been dealing with all these crazy coincidences lately.  For example; my friend Beau has gotten engaged.  I've known his fiancee for three years now.  It turns out that her mother is a client of ours, and a friend of my mother's.  We've talked about her mother on multiple occasions, I've met her several times.  I knew that her father plays jazz and I'd been told that the client's husband plays jazz, and that they have the same last name.  I never put it together.  Another example; I went to the Highlands to see a friend of mine.  I don't go to the Highlands regularly (not that I have anything against the area).  While there, I ran into a different pair of friends, who also rarely make it out that way.  I talked to them for about 30 minutes, then stepped away to use my phone, to call the friend I was supposed to meet.  When I walked back, to say goodbye to them, there's a guy sitting at their table, flirting with them.  He was a guy I met in Texas, who I haven't seen in 6 years.  The girl I met for coffee last sunday went to college with several friends of mine.  It's just strange.

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17th June, 2009. 10:10 am. You can't stop the signal

If you don't know what's going on in Iran right now (and there's a decent chance you don't, since the mainstream media seems to be reporting about it reluctantly), there are massive protests against the re-election of Ahmadinejad. Early on, many of the protests were being violently suppressed. But since many brave Iranians began taking video (often on cellphones) and sending it out into the internet, much of the violence has stopped. I read The Daily Dish regularly and they are covering the story extensively.  The most amazing thing is that with the amount of censorship the Iranian government has put forth, people are still struggling to get the story out.  With access to many websites blocked, people are using Twitter to get the news out.  This is pretty incredible, not just because it's how democracy starts.  It's because even the simplest of technology is capable of forcing the world to sit up and take notice.  We are moving toward a more honest, transparent world.  That must scare the shit out of a lot of people, but I can't wait.

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20th May, 2009. 9:44 pm. I knew it!

A quote from Dave Gibbons, on the Watchmen movie

"While most of the characters survived the transition from comic to film intact, some changes were made. Dr Manhattan’s penis, which had been based originally on Leonardo Da Vinci’s idealized Vitruvian Man, was made more anatomically correct after lengthy committee meetings at the studio to decide the most appropriate size and shape for the film."

Something about having numerous meetings over a CGI penis makes me laugh

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25th April, 2009. 12:33 am. Currently experiencing anger, I believe depression is next.

Warning, this post is rambling, nonsensical and essentially crazy-talk. Don't consider it to be any indication of any long-term feelings, problems or issues. This is me venting, stream-of-consciousness style.

About two hours ago, I learned that a girl I used to work with OD'd on cocaine and, as people who OD on coke often do, died. But she spent a couple of days in the hospital first, from what I was told, probably in a coma. The thing is, I worked with her, joked with her, drank with her, but I wouldn't call her a friend. Nevertheless, I am not some unfeeling monster, and I can't help but be sad that a vibrant girl was cut down before she was even 23. It's taken me a couple of hours to get over the shock of it, which is normal. I consider myself an amateur expert in the fields of addiction and grief (which sounds really fucked up when I admit it aloud), so the fact that I'm supremely pissed off now is no shock to me.

Her funeral is tomorrow, and I don't want to go. If I do, I'm liable to tell her scumbag, shit-eating, drug-dealer boyfriend that this is all his fault, and if he gives me any attitude, I'd beat him into the fucking ground. This is one of those situations where I'd put my gun in my car and pray that things escalated so I could shoot him in his fucking low-life face, protecting any future girls he plies with abuse and drugs so they'll be too fucked in the head to leave him. The thing is, I know it's not all his fault, only mostly. He claims he didn't know she was stealing coke from him, which is probably true (like all shit-bag predators, he doesn't touch his own product). But not knowing that she's on coke, when he plied her with enough Xanax to drop an elephant is a poor fucking excuse.

Of course, I'm angry right now. Cerebrally, I know that no matter how many bullets I put into his skull, it won't make any difference. And as I write that, I realize that it may be time for the next stage of grief. Because there is nothing that can be done to help her. Her time here is done, and I can only hope that whatever awaits her on the other side makes her happy. It's sad to think that all her hopes and dreams are gone, never to be fulfilled. It's sad to think that all the things she could have done will go undone. Instead, she leaves a Loni-shaped hole in her family's life, not much different from the hole my father left in mine.

I remember telling her something. While we were working together, she got clean for a while. I don't remember how long. It was probably for four to six months. I remember telling her that I could tell the difference in her, and that I was proud of her. She told me that I had helped her with it a lot. I demurred. I didn't actively encourage her to quit, and I didn't really notice that she had pulled her shit together until a couple of months had passed. I knew that there were other people we worked with who had helped her a lot more. I told her so. But she told me that I set a good example for her. That she knew that I didn't approve of that shit and that she appreciated how I encouraged her to be better without preaching to her. We had conversations after that. We had conversations after she fell back into old habits. After she got fired for being too strung out to wait tables at Mellow Mushroom. But right now, I can't remember any of those conversations.

I know that this isn't my fault. I did try to help her. But I know that I could have tried harder. I couldn't have done it by myself, but I could have helped. If everyone in her life had tried harder, she could have been saved. But I guess that could be said for just about anyone, couldn't it? Every person that dies like this could have been helped. We just didn't try hard enough.

I don't remember the last conversation I had with Jonathan, because getting him to hang out was difficult. And now I'm left with the knowledge that we could have hung out more, but I didn't try hard enough.

Yet I know, no matter how hard I try, I will live to see more friends and family buried. No matter how hard I try, I will go to more funerals.

That knowledge should make me sad. But that the difference between who I once was, and who I am now. All this thinking makes me do is want to enjoy my life more.

Current mood: discontent.

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6th April, 2009. 11:47 am. The things you learn on the internet...

So there I was, on an internet forum (which I try not to do). Some guy was complaining about some bullshit or another (shocking, I know). And he said that he worshiped the Norse Gods. He actually said that he worshiped the Norse Gods. Y'know, the Norse Gods: Odin, Thor, Loki, etc. Then some other guy (or maybe a girl, the screen name wasn't gender specific) also spoke up and claimed to be a viking priest (I forget the exact word they used, but they used a word I recognized from at least 1 role-playing game), one who, in their own words, venerates; "Odin and the Norns, mostly". I'm pretty sure that neither of them were joking, or using hyperbole. It took all of my willpower not to ask; "What? Were Marduk and Tiamat too old-school for you?" I mean really. It's one thing to worship a guy who appeared as a burning bush, but Odin had a six-legged horse.

How does one decide to become a worshiper of Odin? Most people get their religion from their parents. Scientologists, the child-molesters of the spiritual world, recruit weak people with lots of money. I wonder how many of these half-assed pagans chose a religion just to piss off their parents. Couldn't they have gotten a nose piercing instead?

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28th January, 2009. 3:05 pm. My brain hurts

I read the last issue of Final Crisis on my lunch break. Y'know, it still makes no sense. I feel like I was watching the highlights reel to a David Lynch movie. I'm thoroughly confused.

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15th December, 2008. 2:49 pm. Oh no! I have too many friends! What a big problem!

The following should be read with a mocking tone and a healthy dose of self-deprecation.

Seriously guys? For real? How is it that I can have two parties to go to in one night? Jenny and Kim's holiday party and Jeremy's Solstice party on the same night. Couldn't you have coordinated this better? Maybe you should start asking me what days I have free before you schedule these things.

Oh, wait... you both did? And I told both hosts I'd be there? Why didn't you all catch my mistake? What kind of friends do I have, where you are not watching out for me?

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28th November, 2008. 3:57 pm. They Rick-Rolled the Thanksgiving Day Parade

This is an interesting commentary on how mainstream the internet has become. Next up, Santa can haz cheezeburger

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14th November, 2008. 1:06 pm. Geeks Can Be Stupid, too

A lot of geeks like to believe that they are smarter than everyone else.  This is simply not true.  I was involved in a 10 minute conversation with a pair of geeks at Borders which proves my point.  Here is what they said;

"I love the new Clone Wars show.  It's much better than the last Clone Wars cartoon.  Everything about it is better, especially the animation."

"I didn't like Song of Fire & Ice.  My favorite is The Sword of Truth series."

"All-Star Batman & Robin is awesome."

It reminded me of one of the dumbest things I have ever heard come out of a geek's mouth.  "J.K. Rowling is going to kill Harry at the end of the last book because these novels are her way of teaching children about death."

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