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Holy Jesus fucking H Christ. S and I were at work until around 4:30 am today (for reference, I got in in the morning around 10 am). We completed a lot of good work, did some good troubleshooting, uttered a lot of profanity at general other teams, and all in all, I had a fantastic time; each of these long sessions working with him on this stuff is making more happy and more excited about the new direction my job is going in. But man, he and I working together is friggin dangerous. We both have a very bad habit of getting very involved in somethng and losing track of time (hunger and tiredness distract us not!), which means that when we're working together on something, neither one of us is a check against the other so far as putting limits on time. On the occasions where one of us momentarily flags, the other immediately surges to fill the gap. Excellent for getting shit done at work, not so excellent for doing anything outside of work, including sleeping. Whoops.

I'm trying to get myself to come to terms with the fact that I will never, ever, be as awesome as S is. But I think I have a damn decent shot at being an excellent S-lite, with a full year's worth of real LPM experience to round me out. That's in no way a bad thing (although if I could become said excellent S-lite sooner, and get over a lot of my hangups about asserting myself in technical situations, it'd be a better thing).

And now, to sleep! Thank god my first meeting isn't until 1 pm tomorrow; I'm totally sleeping in until at least 11.



I've been so exhausted when I crawl in bed the last few days that I've fallen asleep immediately... which is good news for my often wretched insomnia, but bad for the updating of /tht/. And that streak continues tonight, but at least I'm saying so this night. Here's to fewer twelve hour days and full days of work on Saturday in my future.



More yawning and then even more in my future. Frantically trying to take in a huge amount of new information at work, while not letting my other responsibilities slip too badly... and feeling like I'm not going to be able to do it, where which "it" I'm referring to changes on my mood. For example, there's one small item I agreed to pick up a month ago that due to a random mixture of events, I've not been able to work on it basically at all. This has stressed me out for about four weeks now. With even more stuff coming onto my plate, I should really ask someone else to do it, but my pride and my fears around it are hindering me. People were told I'd do it, I asked a couple questions, and then was forced to drop it for a while... and now, weeks later, I ask someone else to do it? That'd probably fly within my team (note: talk to Julia, perhaps), but there were some external people involved, and that starts to really sting. Argh.

(stress and indecision)

Had a lovely evening out tonight, followed up by some chill time (and High Fidelity, yay) with my main Jeffie... but the whole package has conspired to keep me awake much longer than is prudent given that my car is at work and I need to catch the bus at (cry) 6:57 am. I have a book, but I forgot my coffee mug at work. DAMN!



(yawn) Very long day today, including over twelve hours at work. Meetings or braindumps or impromptu conversations constantly from 10 am to 5:30 pm... did I already say (yawn)? And then I spent the last twenty minutes looking for an earring. I've gotten really damn paranoid about losing them, after this last Year of the Earrings, and the timing would have been, while not the worst, at least not promising. Ah, silly superstitions that forced me to totally pick up and put away my laundry carefully, then sweep through the entire place retracing my steps, only to find the darn thing exactly where I would have sworn I picked it up from, half an hour before. I must be getting old. Or perhaps I did a twelve hour workday on six hours of sleep? That might have contributed.



At 2:00 am, I will say: Yay! Got to put Mark up for the night and gab for an hour or two with old friend! Now, I totally conk out, for I am the tired.




Other than feeling the effects of having too many tempting beer choices to be able to resist when I went out with Mike last night, this morning was quite nice... I had a good time out, and so was in something of a glowy smiley mood despite feeling a bit off. But sooner or later, I had to turn my brain to upsetting things, and now I'm feeling frankly awful.

See, they've come down with one diagnosis about my mother recently (I just heard this on Friday). She's bipolar. Bipolar disorder doesn't cover all of her symptoms, but it does explain about 50% of what's been going on the last year, and the delusional thinking that comes along with bipolar disorder also happens to cover the latest fun: she's convinced that I'm a narcissistic bitch who doesn't care at all about her, and that over the last few months I've systematically destroyed the wonderful mother-daughter closeness we had as revenge for innocent and well-intentioned actions of hers in the fall and early winter. I had the joy of going over there on Wednesday to explain to her that no, I've not suddenly cut her out of my life... it's just that she never noticed that our relationship was pretty cool and distant until now (and this wonderful relationship that she thinks we had lately was a complete construction of her confused mind). That was awesome, let me say. Had the pleasure of her getting intensely upset, accusing me for the first time ever of me being just like my father, and wanting me to leave the house. Dad and I got her talked down and in fact I thought, when I left, that everything was pretty okay.

(I should point out that it's not that I hate my mother or anything, it's just that we don't have a super close loving relationship and we never have; I'm very fond of her in a lot of ways, but our relationship has never been such that we chat on the phone each day or anything.)

Yesterday evening, when I got home from my afternoon out, I had a letter addressed in my mother's hand, containing my house key and no note. Complete passive-aggressive ridiculousness. I wish I'd never mentioned to Dad that I had been upset by the way in which Mom had aggressively pushed to get a key to my place... I had absolutely no problem with her having a key; what I had a problem with was her intense guilt-tripping manipulative behavior to get me to give it to her, which was out of character and (I thought at the time and still do) a symptom of her degrading mental state). Apparently he mentioned things to her, and so BAM, I have my key back in the most petty manner possible. Called home to talk to the parentals about it, and agreed with my dad that the most neutral thing I could do was just bring the key back and point out to her that I very much do want my family to have a key as a backup.

Tonight, I finally got myself to go over, and Mom refuses to see me or talk to me. Had a long talk with Dad... I refuse to play this little game; there is absolutely no way for me to win. I've got enough stress in my own life and mind, and walk a fine enough line of my own, to deal with delving into this mess. The only thing that would appease her is if I signed my soul and life over to her, and anything else I do or say, she'll twist into "Jen hates me and is an awful person." As I told my father tonight, the only thing that I can do that preserves my sanity in any way is to retreat; if this is the way she wants to go, she's welcome to sit tight in her little reality and think all the awful things she wants. I will have no part in it.

Lest someone think that I'm being melodramatic here, my father completely agreed with me on every single point, from Mom's likely reaction to the best course of action for me. We're hoping that as her meds work to level her out, she'll come back around to some sort of reasonable place, but tonight, after I finished vacuuming several rooms, I thought about doing some more cleaning and suddenly just collapsed. I just can't handle doing anything else tonight, as my mother's brooding presence twenty miles away gnaws at my mind. I may be attempting to reduce my stress about the whole thing as much as possible... but that doesn't mean it actually goes away.



Color me slightly full of glee. I've been wanting a cartilage piercing, with varied levels of intensity, for many many years, ever since Richard got one, really, which would have been my junior year of college, so about 6 years. Jim didn't want me to get one, and my nerve to do it at all has cycled wildly. But today, with gracious Kelly's enablement, I finally got a small, lovely, and demure cartilage piercing. Yay!



I'm unsure whether to call today a win or not. In some ways, it was quite good (and any day you get an email with the sentence "I am happy that people like you are around to make grumpy men like me less grumpy," you really can't complain too much). But I've been in a sour mood since about 4:30, and that's coloring my perspective of the day as a whole. I didn't want to hang out at home by myself, and so had decided that I'd either try to drag a particular someone out or just say fuck it and go a'gothing by myself. But I got home, and wonder of wonders, Jeff was here, waiting for Brooke to show up any minute. It was loverly to hang out on the couch and watch TV with him for the several hours until she finally got home, but I never really satisfied my desire for either going out or having company (as, for those several hours, I kept expecting him to disappear any moment, I never got particularly comfortable and into the groove of just enjoying company). I am... dissatisfied.



I had a good day today, which puts some serious fear in my heart about tomorrow. With the way my week has gone overall, a decent day bodes ill. My streak of exhaustion continues regardless, and so I'm going go with the classic, "I'm tired" and start the inevitable march to construction people hammering on my wall at 7:30 am.



Bah, I say.



Perfectly fine, if long, day of work, guest-speaking at the UW, and then more work... and somewhere along the way I got so tired that I forgot at the store on my way home around 10 why I'd stopped there, and have almost fallen asleep on the couch three times in the last hour. It's bedtime, and hopefully I will remember to talk about how lovely it was to go talk to Jan's class... after I get some sleep.




First day back from vacation: kinda sucky. Week look as if it will continue in the same vein. But hey, at least there's a my-boss's-[n]-boss-provides-alcohol-and-treats thing at the end of it. Small things to look forward to, I guess.



Huh. Well, apparently my desire for quiche was stronger than I imagined... when my alarm started going off at 8:30, I was cranky, but I was out of bed by 9 regardless. I was right about the part where I should have just stayed up, though... Cafe Ladro opens at 5:30 am. The morning shift would have looked at me funny; who sits in a coffeeshop and reads The Stranger at 5:30 am? Although for all I know, that's when they're the busiest. Full of insomniacs who crave quiche.

I'd forgotten that this week would be the valentine edition of The Stranger. I'm compelled each year to look at them all, even if I only skim the headlines of most ("Sweetbean" was a startlingly common affectionate appellation this year). My attention to detail was repaid when I noticed that someone had placed their valentine as the "geek love poem" I have a Thinkgeek shirt of and wear often:

roses are #FF0000
violets are #0000FF
all my base are belong to you

Classically romantic. Awwwwww.

And because it's tickling my hyperactive funny bone, a snippet of conversation:

Laeren: you are SO SEVERAL MINUTES behind me having done that
  me and the internets, we move with the quickness
  and MAN can i tell that i only got 4 hours of sleep.
zstroum: I kind of like this loopy Jen.
Laeren: well, to be true, i do too. i'm highly entertaining to myself when i'm this way
  i just also have a huge capacity to be as irritating as all get out in this mood
zstroum: Well, you're like a bottle of Johnson's Baby Shampoo at the moment, you're irritation free.

Attack of the book gnomes! I went through my entire book collection tonight, getting every single one of them entered into what will hopefully, someday, turn into a nifty little library system. As such, I've handled every single one of my books, individually and with attention, for the first time... in years, perhaps ever. Even when I'd move and have to resort and shelve them, I wouldn't necessarily LOOK at each one, read its title, carress its cover. But today, I have done so, and lo, I have suffered an attack of the book gnomes, for witness:

  • My lovely original copy of Jurassic Park, with the "mysterious stormy island" cover, is gone. I found it in a hotel library, gathered together from books left in rooms, in Lamu, Kenya when I was 13 years old... I found it long before the movie was even being advertised, and I don't know when it slipped away from me.
  • Going past Stephen King, my jaw dropped. I would have sworn I had a single Stephen King book: Firestarter. But there was a beat-up copy of The Shining, sitting contentedly right next door to its fellow. I've never even read The Shining! I pulled it out and looked for the used book price, thinking I must have bought it used and forgotten. Inside there was no used mark-down to be found; instead, there were three photographs, of people I've never seen.

Kelly thinks that gnomes swapped the two books. I think that's a perfectly plausible explanation.

My book collection resided for years in my room at my parents' place; as I bought books wherever I lived (after I was "encouraged" to move out in '98), I'd periodically bring them back to my shelves there and sort them amongst the crowd. In '03, when Jim, Nate, Ian and I lived together in the house in Wedgwood, I finally had the shelves and the space to bring the bulk of my collection to me, and that bulk (my entire sci-fi/fantasy collection is with me, and most of my other books as well; what remains at home is generally the remnants of my childtime collection) has travelled with me in my moves since. Who knows when books may have crept in and out? Perhaps my copy of Jurassic Park fell behind my bed at home many years ago, and perhaps The Shining belonged to some friend of my brother's and my mother placed it with my collection by mistake.

I still vote gnomes.

A raw dump of my collection as it exists in my residence at the moment is now available. With a few exceptions of currently-lent-out books, this list includes every single novel that has been in my possession past a cutoff when I was about 10 (and several of them do predate that cutoff). Past that date, I never once got rid of a book... even truly awful ones that really do deserve to be junked. As such my collection is a little patchwork: some stretches of quality, some pitfalls of wretchedness. I've read every single novel at least once (several of them many many times), with a few exceptions in the books I bought today, The Shining, and the two DragonLance novels that found their way onto my shelf years ago. That's a lot of paper to have read.

The list also includes most of my textbooks and nonfiction books I have here. Not all of them are included yet, as I would have had to go raid the office shelves for the rest, but I have no doubt that I'll collar them all eventually. There's many flaws with the current tagging (why on earth I forgot to split out translator surnames for sorting purposes, I am unsure), I know that one title is cut off weirdly, and yes, I know it should be in a db eventually. I'm just amazed I managed to get that much info for 382 books in there all in the last couple hours.

I am OBVIOUSLY a little extra anal-retentive and obsessed with order today. Wooo four hours of sleep!




Oh, fuck me Jesus on a cheap knock-off Razor scooter... how the HELL can I still be awake?!? It's 5 fucking am, I travelled all day and for once didn't conk out on the plane, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, I desperately desperately want to get up earlyish to go drink coffee and eat quiche and read The Stranger before the ravening Sunday locusts sweep through. At the rate I'm going, I might as well just fucking stay up! (despair) I don't get it; I was tired when the Fool picked me up at the airport, and just got tireder on the drive home and in the first hour or so that I puttered away (I was in that weirdly hyperactive mode that means I'm really frigging tired). By 2:30 am I was about to conk out mid-URL-typing, so I turned off the light and set the laptop aside and surrounded myself with kittens... and utterly failed to go to sleep. Complete botch. At 4 am I gave up the pretense of trying, in favor of reading a little bit longer. Perhaps I hoped it would lull me gently away, but noooooooo. I'm still just as tired, an hour later, and just as NOT GODDAMN ASLEEP.

Damn you, insomnia beast. Damn you.

(shaking fist and throwing a tantrum of quiche-and-coffee-wanting +10)



I know that I often say that I'm no sports fan, beyond my affection for the Mariners, but I am slightly disingenous in that statement, as I adore the Olympics beyond all reasonable measure. There are few easier ways to make me cry than to sit me down in front of the opening ceremonies, as overwrought and silly as they can be; oft-times, all it really takes is listening to the Olympics theme, and I'll sob like a little girl. It's such a beautiful symbol, with so many nations coming together in one place to share in one endeavor, that I can't help but be overcome. Even if that one endeavor is to beat each other.

And MAN is the lone athlete from Albania CUTE. Maybe I'll root for him in alpine skiing... I may adore the Olympics, but it's certainly not generally out of any loyalty to a particular sports figure, much less to my own nation. Hah!

An aside, quite a bit later: there's another thing that I unreasonably adore, and that's the current spate of Geico commercials where the gecko has a Cockney accent. Especially the one about "free pie and chips." I could rewind and listen to that one for... if not hours, at least multiple minutes.



There was a rainbow this evening, a full arc across the stormy sky brilliantly lit by the setting sun. I drove all around the island of Kaua'i today; I picked up a car this morning around 10 am, and got back to the hotel around 6:15. I'd forgotten that you can't drive all the way around the island, that there is, as Bryce put it, a cliff inconveniently in the way. But I drove as far as one can when one sets "to the right" from where I'm staying (east and north and west), and then drove nearly as far as I could the other way 'round. The only words that left my mouth the whole time, other than singing along to songs in the car, were to order lunch.

My sunburn got, of course, no better over my traipsing course across the Garden Island. But I'll take it and like it, coming as did on my kicking heels as I danced and twirled along the sands of the beach at Kekaha.

And for those who couldn't guess by the picture link... two items of note:

  1. They're all up in chronological order (there's lots of pictures of me; I must be in a vain period at the moment)
  2. I munged the gallery code. There's now two view modes: the thumbnail mode I coded forever ago, and the paging picture-by-picture mode I spent the last hour making work.



My real self is predictably decayed by the 568 pages devoured, start to finish, this afternoon. Seven hours total it took, a longish time for me for that length of book, but perhaps understandable given interspersed swims, dinners, non-naps of sun and shadow flickering on my closed eyelids. After it all, there's an emptiness in my chest, a vacuum of self. I've been draining out since the reading began around one; mid-afternoon, I spun myself out into the waves and the sand underneath, letting memories fly away as I whirled, top-like, in the surf.

There's nothing more I've wanted to do, for the past two or three hours, than to climb onto a couch with someone in the corner, to crawl over and push my head up underneath an arm, to curl close and feel a neck flutter against my forehead, to feel a cheek tilt near and a body respond. When I've thought about it, I don't have a hint of who the someone is, for that's not even slightly the point.

I'm being reeled back in, calling myself back with the irritation that sidles alongside the writing down of the last little bit.

One of the things that drives me most insane in this world is the insistence that (generally single) people have that being single is good for you, that it is somehow better than being part of a complementary set. That I am weak, flawed, less good for the fact that I prefer to be with someone than without. Two responses surge: one, to ridicule, to suggest that people who say so are merely flailing madly at a way to make themselves feel better; two, to lash out, to cry invective on those who do not understand that people are different and that I simply and legitimately feel another way than they do.

And underlying it all, of course, is the paranoia, the fear and the doubt, the whispering voice that says "they're right." It fits in all too well with my general hatred of self. Ultimate dark humor, that.

I wonder when it was, today, that I got sunburnt?



I finished a book in various places today... a balcony, a beach, a couch. Later, I bade people bring me meat, and lo, it was good. I'm definitely beginning to suffer from an excess of aloneness, however; my imagination has run rampant, conjuring situations, voices, faces, gestures, conversations. It's getting harder, as I crest through towards the next week, to stave off thinking about the coming week and the confusions that wait at home. Tomorrow or the day after, I think I will drive around all day.



I woke this morning "early" (early for me to wake by myself, at least), and had a swim and breakfast completed by 9:30. I then managed to spend my entire rest-of-day inside, reading and playing Civ with the doors open and distant waves in my ears. There's not a lot to said about a day as carelessly spent as my day was... I took a nap, and that was about the most exciting thing to be said about the hours between 10 am and 7:30 pm. Around 7:30, however, I decided it was ridiculous to go the entire day in my room, and so I exited my sanctuary to go down for beer and bar food. Ohhhhh yeah. Heh. A few overpriced beers and dinner later, I'm back holed up in a room; saving graces of leftovers for lunch tomorrow and conversation with entertaining, if married, bartender Ritchie notwithstanding, I've basically passed my entire day without anything to show for it. Go vacation?



I thought yesterday, when I walked out of the Lihue airport, about how I was more alone than I'd been since Japan. No one I know for miles and miles and miles, thousands upon thousands of miles and miles. It's a funny feeling, loneliness, a funny feeling that can take many forms. This morning I felt lonely and free, unburdened by anyone's expectations, light enough to fly away into the sunshine and wind. This afternoon I feel lonely in hard edges, the lack of company grating like rough rope across skin. This evening it may turn again, or it may not.

It's odd to use words of time. This morning was near this afternoon, after I slept hard for near fourteen hours; this afternoon has been the few scant hours since I finished my coffee, and this evening will begin soon, as the sun starts to drift down behind the ridge across the river. I'm tense in that particular way that one can only be when one has nothing to do enforced upon them. I should, I feel, be doing something; I should be grocery shopping or vacuuming or working to rectify problems at work. But there is nothing at all that must be done, nothing at all other than to sit among lengthening shadows and dappled sunlight, listening to waves and children's voices skimming over the surface of Miei's music in my ears.

I walked a little this afternoon, down to where the river proper starts in from the bay, and stood on a wall in the breeze, looking across at the green; I walked back, past where I thought the pool hall had been, and kicked a rock. It has been five and a half years since I was here last, five and a half years since Jim, Bryce, Voni, and I shared perhaps this very same suite. It's somewhat comforting that things have changed here, inserting uncertainty into memory, but just as comforting is that even when I walked past a place today and remembered standing there with Jim, it felt more like a normal memory and less like a knife turning through my insides. It's been over a year and I still miss him, but it's starting, finally, to feel more like how I miss any other boy I've dated. There's always missing, in every case, but that's simply to be expected. I dated them for reasons, after all.

I'm unsure at the moment, as I sit alone and look out on the sunshine turning dim, if considering reasons makes me gloomy or simply thoughtful.

It's so hard to go back and read through old /tht/. So much of the time I've been sad, and of the good times, many now make me sad to read. At times like this, I feel like a truly wretched and ungrateful person. So I think I will go and stretch my legs, stand in the surf and watch the sun go away.



The best that one can ask, after a long day of travel, is to arrive in a lovely place and immediately start racking up free stuff. This week, I'm responsible for feeding myself, and any entertainment I wish to peruse, but my gorgeous suite with a view of the ocean, and the various perks it comes with, is all on my parents. Let it not be said that there's no benefit to living in a family where material things replace love and affection.

I think I'm going to do absolutely nothing tomorrow. If I get exceptionally motivated, I will leave my room and read on the beach... exceptionally motivated. It's just as likely that I will simply lounge on my balcony all day.



I am so fucking frustrated I could, and did, scream. I've worked my goddamn ass off all week so that I could take the next week off, setting things in place, making sure that things happened. One of those things was getting some particular DB access for some vendors; the DB admin, a week ago, started throwing out hoops that I have valiantly worked through... only to have him email at 6:15 pm tonight (just as I'm about to leave work, and SEVERAL HOURS AFTER, MIND YOU, he'd sent me mail saying that things were fine and would go through on Monday), saying "oh, there's another thing you have to do." When I, upset, start looking into other thing, it becomes clear by about 7:30 that there's no way I can make it happen before I go out of town. And thus, BAM, I'm screwed. Things will not go through. If my vendors need access next week, they will not be able to have it. Getting them that access was my responsibility. To external eyes, I have dropped the ball; it was my job to get this done, and just like that, it doesn't get done: my fault.

And I have to have laundry done and be packed and have chores done tonight by around midnight when Bryce comes to pick me up, and I was at work way later than I meant to be, and I cried in anger all the way home and punched the steering wheel so hard I bruised my hand. Just when I was about to have a decent day.



I meant, tonight, to relay the four day saga of trying-to-get-something-done-at-work, but I just really don't have the energy. I was at work for close to twelve hours today, trying to get things done before I go on vacation for a week (flying out to Kaua'i on Saturday, thank god), and can barely keep my sentences coherent at this point. Ken and Seth and Jeff did their gentle best to keep me together (and had tandoori chicken pizza waiting when I finally got home... Can-Am Pizza is my new favorite place; we got butter chicken pizza from them last week, introducing us to the wonderfulness of Indian pizza, and they did not disappoint this week), so I'm feeling much better than I was when I rolled in the door around 8:30. A little. Not enough so that I'm not going to go to sleep RIGHT NOW.



(sigh) So sleepy. I'm just not meant for a schedule where I'm at work between 7:50 and 9 am every day. I'm just not.