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August 29, 2004 -- ONE YEAR of SO NOW THEN!

"I took off for a weekend last month, just to try to recall the whole year..." - JB
It's a rare case when one can state with absolute certainty what they were doing exactly one year before. I find myself now in the slightly enviable, and yet slightly annoying position of being able to do just that, as today marks the one year anniversary of that fateful day when I woke up in the starchy, sky blue sheets of that Motel 6 in Simi Valley, had my way with a very confused young girl, and then went home and decided to start a website.

What a year it's been, too. Who can forget those first few weeks, as I went through the hectic, harrowing process of vacating my beach apartment, all the while trying to figure out just where in fact I was going to vacate it to. Or that month in Ferndale, with my buddy Clash, so full of irresponsible, but exceedingly memorable and often hilarious escapades. Or the trip across the country, as I winded my way through some of America's most beautiful and striking scenery and landmarks, still searching, searching for something that I knew was out there, but the nature of which always seemed to elude my grasp by a wisp.

Or those six months in South Carolina where I was too busy golfing and drinking cheap white wine out of a box to write anything.

Or even the last couple months, as I finally ended up settling down in Boulder, CO, and finally ended up getting a little wise and after 33 years of bumbling and stumbling, finally started learning a little bit about life, and about what the hell to do with it, after having it dumped unceremoniously in my lap.

The Journey of the Unknown Destination, that's what the year feels like. Ever onward, blindly stumbling forward along a path forever winding 'round unseen corners, turning back on itself, looping over and under and through, and changing direction faster than a silk ribbon blown by a softly blowing fan. Wanting it. Waiting for it. That feeling that this is it, this is what I was looking for. This is why I went into my boss' office in the middle of August last year, job offer in hand, threw it on his desk and said, "Thanks, but no thanks. I gotta go out into the world and find..."


But what is it? What did I want? What was missing? "Happiness" seems like too vague and cliche a word, but it just happens to be absolutely right, so let me just go ahead and say it: Happiness.

So much time I've wasted, thinking I knew how to find it, too. Here now, I'll take you through a few of my previously held misconceptions of what it takes to be happy, and show you how I've learned that they're wrong, and maybe some young, impressionable types will end up reading this some day, and it might be able to save them a few months, a few years, a lifetime of time searching in vain for that most elusive of goals, a goal which seems to far away and so unattainable at times, but a goal that, as it turns out, is right close at hand.

Theory: All I need to be happy is... A change of scenery. Status: WRONG

It stands to reason, doesn't it? I'm not happy here, so happiness must exist elsewhere. Certainly I've lived my life by this maxim the past eight or nine years, as I've rarely stayed in the same state for more than 9 months at a time, but even before that, I moved a lot. Changed apartments. Changed sides of the DC beltway. Changed furniture arrangements. I'm not happy in this environment, so there must be some other environment I need to find, in which I can flourish.

"You just quit your job? Whaddya gonna do?" Go across the country. Find myself. Move around. Change, change, change. I'll scour every last square centimeter of this place if I have to, but somewhere out there is just the right spot, just the right view, just the right weather, just the right breeze, just the right bar... It's there that I'll find happiness. It's there that I'm meant to be. I just need to find it.

And you can keep fooling yourself with this, and fooling yourself, and fooling yourself, every second of every waking hour, and even when you're asleep -- just two nights ago, I had a dream about picking up again and hitting the road. Movement is a drug, and an addictive one at that.

But the antithesis of this theory, the antidote for that drug, and the terrible, inescapable, hackneyed, cliche truth of the matter which the true "geographic" must eventually face one day or face annihilation, is: No matter where you go, there you are.

And therein lied the problem. Every damn place I went, I'd look up and find me there. The singular thread, the lowest common denominator of all the roads I've driven and towns I've set up shop in and restaurants I've eaten at and malls I've sauntered through and bars I've drank at, is the one guy on the other side of the camera that's framing up all those photos. Wherever I went, there I was. And this posed a very serious problem, because that was the exact same guy I was sick of. The same guy I couldn't stand being around. The guy I didn't want there, and he kept following me.

Police won't write up restraining orders on yourself.

So, the change of scenery won't do it. But then I took that trip to Vegas, and met up with a girl named Shortcake, and though she ripped me apart inside, and left me a withered, emotional wreck of a man, she taught me one very important thing, something which helped me realize that all of those songs has been true all those years, and that the more I tried to fight it, the more I was missing the boat, and that finally I'd gained the wisdom to know what the one thing was on this Earth that was gonna make me thank my parents for having me. She taught me:

Theory: All I need to be happy is... Love.


Status: WRONG

It sounds nice, doesn't it? Loooove. That Special Someone. Can't count the tears of a life without it, that's for sure! You silly, silly boy, thinking you can attain happiness by distracting yourself with your music, your cooking, your beer, your computers, your airplanes, your Nick @ Nite. Hop on the train to Somewheresville, man! Get on the winning team! It's love! Exciting and new! Come aboard! Etc, etc, etc.

BZZZT. Wrong. Sorry, not the case. It's hard to imagine, too, because it feels so good while it's happening. But that same guy you couldn't stand to be around wherever you were? Well, he's still there, even in the midst of a loving embrace, or the throes of passion, or a sly wink across a candlelit dining room. You do not so much love the love, as you fear its absence, because if it's gone, then you're stuck with yourself again. And this will not do, because you never learned...

You just never learned.

You never learned to love yourself. Or even like yourself. Hell, you never even learned to tolerate yourself!

And it's not going to stop, till you wise up.

What was the destination? The final resting spot of this venture born of spurious logic and capricious rationalizing and financial absurdity? The destination, my friends, was right here. [Points at self.] Eight thousand miles, fifteen hotel rooms, and a fifth of rum raised in anger to the midnight Utah sky later, and I finally made it, right back to where I was, but exactly where I needed to go.

August 29, 2004: Today, I woke up.

I woke up, and I smiled.

August 27-28, 2004

I'm going to go ahead and combine the last couple of days, because, as we count down the days to SNT's one-year anniversary, I realize I am really quite sick of doing this website. I like the BBS just fine, I enjoy hearing from people who have enjoyed the page in the past (usually, last October), and I enjoy paying the yearly fee for maintaining the domain name and the hosting services, but as for getting on here every morning and pounding out five or six paragraphs about how I got up, ate Cocoa Puffs and played dumb computer games, I think I'm just about done with it. I mean, it was fun back when I was travelling around the country, as every day was sure to bring some new escapade, some new hotel room, and usually some new fifth of rum or tequila, but apartment P297 is about 400 square feet, including the bathroom, and it's the same every single day.

August 27 was essentially a lost day. I did not sleep well at all the night previous, and had to get up at six in the morning to drive an hour to south Denver to have the doctor tell me to take my shirt off, feel me up a little, then tell me, "Looks good, come back in two weeks", and then drive another hour and a half (now in the dead of rush hour) back to Boulder. That was it. I was unable to function the entire rest of the day, and did little else but watch TV, try (and fail) to take various naps throughout the day, and stare at the ceiling.

That was, until about 7:45, when I went to the local Vietnamese place for dinner with my neighbor Samantha (whose name is NOT Samantha, due to the fact that, as I mentioned, and as some of you have shown me you didn't really understand, I changed all the names of the people on this website (except for one Laurence R. Trask)).

Now, if you're like me, you're a bit bemused by my neighbor Samantha, as during one of our first conversations, she most definitely let it be known that she had a boyfriend, but since that time, she has shown herself to be quite friendly, some would say just a bit flirtatious, and certainly interested in spending time with your humble narrator here. Plus, this boyfriend has yet to be seen. Certainly your curiosity was piqued, then, when we sat at our table and she grabbed her chopsticks and began poking playfully at me with them. I mean, Friday night, at a nice restaurant, swordfighting with chopsticks? Does this sound like standard "neighbors who are not romantically interested in one another" stuff?

Just so you are not driven completely insane with anticipation about the ultimate result of this soiree, let me bring it to a suitable denouement by describing verbatim a snippet of conversation which quite literally came out of nowhere towards the end of the meal:

"When's the last time you had a girlfriend?" - Samantha
"Oh, it's been quite a while, actually, what with all my travelling." - Narrator
"Well, we should find you a girlfriend!" - Samantha

Yyyyeah. That'd be great, Sammy! Thanks! Do you know anybody? "No, not right now." Greaaaat.

On the bright side, she owed me money, so she ended up picking up the tab. If asked to choose between getting a girlfriend and getting free food, I'd have to ask you for a moment to decide.

So, that was Aug. 27. Aug 28 was a little more spritely, featuring activities like going to the gym, eating leftover Vietnamese food, and traipsing around Pearl Street, where the parties were happening! It was indeed quite packed with artisans, petitionists, skateboarders, people with green hair, and some of the most gorgeous college babes I've ever seen in my life. I spent quite a bit of time walking up and down, checking out little shops, art galleries, and little temporary tents set up along the street, hawking various wares. The most interesting site was a stand giving out free copies of this novel, and the quite fetching young lass standing right next to the stand, holding up a sign saying "BURN WILD ANIMUS"... protesting the very novel that they were giving away. The only problem was, nobody could figure out what the hell she was protesting. It's an adventure novel about people rock climbing in Alaska or something, it ain't Mein Kampf. Everywhere you walked around town, you'd find people carrying their new copies of Wild Animus, and discussing amongst each other, "I dunno what her problem was..." The saddest/amusingest moment came when some dickwad with no shirt went up to her and said, "I really appreciate your stance, and would cordially like to invite you to a party at (somewhere) at 9:30 tonight. You can bring your sign!" Hitting on crazy protesting chicks, I dunno, that doesn't really seem like the money move to me. But maybe that's just how they do it in Boulder.

After that, I spent quite a bit of time on my phone talking to various people. Then I came home, watched NASCAR, played GalCiv, and took drugs, an amazing experience that you can read about here, because I had the good (or rather, highly questionable) sense to record what was going on as it happened. Not that you can understand any of it.

But hey, it's better than reading about Cocoa Puffs.

August 26, 2004

August 26th, right. Lemme just go ahead and write about August 26th. That was a Thursday, "if memory serves me right" (thanks, Chairman Kaga!) Hmm. Plenty of stuff happened, there's no doubt about that. If I could just... if I could just remember.

Ah, well, one thing I remember is getting up a bit late (9:30ish), which irked me quite a bit, but as I had put paid to the last of the Percocet (oh no!) the night previous, I gave myself a bit of a break on that and chalked it up to the marvels of pharmacology. I quickly set about writing yesterday's update, which obviously filled up a bit of time, because it's relatively long (at least compared to recent entries) and contains a fair bit of onomatopoeia, which always takes a bit of time to craft just right.

Then, to my shame, I spent about an hour continuing a rather involved game of GalCiv that I had going. I really must make a deal with myself to limit my play of this game to the evening hours, and only an hour, hour and a half, maybe. It's far too easy to just blow an entire day, an entire weekend, an entire month blasting away at the evil Altarians and the even more evil Yor and Drath (those bastards!)

A beautiful day, though, it was outside, so around lunchtime I decided to head down to Pearl street, stroll around, and investigate one of the countless restaurants to which I'd yet to offer my patronage since moving into town. Today's choice was the "Lazy Dog Bar & Grill", a fairly standard upscale-pub with fairly standard upscale-pub-fare like burgers and chicken Caesar salads and large Diet Cokes ("Pepsi okay?") I went for the "Boston Blue Line Burger", featuring 1/2 pound of ground sirloin, blue cheese and bacon, and...

...well, in my particular case, the Boston Blue Line Burger also featured a bun that had not actually been baked all the way through, so as I took my fingers away from it after the first bite, cold, uncooked dough pulled off in sticky strands from my fingertips.

"Everything okay?" the perky bartendress asked. "Yeah, although I don't remember ordering a large ball of uncooked bread dough, you stupid bitch," I wittily fired back. (Okay, no I didn't, but I did request that maybe next time, which of course there won't be a next time, they might turn up the heat just a bit on the EZ-Bake Oven or whatever they're using to make their burger buns back in the kitchen.) Rather than accept a new bun, I went on a 30-minute Atkins diet (if you don't count the french fries), ate the burger all knife-and-fork style, and left, yet again disappointed by Pearl Street's burger offerings. I know I made fun of Tom's Tavern earlier for professing that they had the "best burger in town", but the more I explore, the closer they come to actually having a point.

After that letdown, I came back home, and went over to the gym for 30 minutes, a 30 minutes featuring two really hot workout-babes on the stairsteppers ahead of me, and the television blasting the most annoying television shows possible at the highest available volume. Workout-babes get an A+. Annoying TV at top decibels gets an F-. Is it a natural fact that the better looking a female is, the worse TV she'll enjoy watching? My experiences at workout facilities in both Boulder and South Carolina indicate: "yes, goddammit".

Back to P297 then, and I don't remember anything about the rest of the day, except for lots more GalCiv, and Samantha stopping by later in the evening for a little chat, and to set up a hike that we're going on Sunday, and essentially invite herself out to dinner with me Friday night at the local Vietnamese restaurant. I'm not quite sure what's going on here, actually. People with boyfriends don't normally invite themselves out to a Friday night dinner with their astonishingly handsome downstairs neighbor, do they? Perhaps they have an "open relationship". Or perhaps that's just how they do it in Boulder. They go to dinner with neighbors, and they don't cook burger buns all the way through.

That's just how they do it in Boulder.

August 25, 2004

My first meeting with my father's widow (my stepmother Jackie) after his death was naturally wraught with anxious, terrible emotions. All of us feeling the hurt, and each of us trying to do whatever we could do to hold it together and provide whatever support we could for the other, as we took those first few excruciating steps on the road to healing. Hugs and warm sigh-infused half-smiles all around, as there were few words that needed to be said. It was something that just needed to happen, and to be felt. No verbal communication could have done justice to the scene.

Eventually, though, she broke the silence. "There's something I want you to have." I stood dumbfounded as she reached into the bag she had brought with her. What could it be? Some personal message he crafted before leaving the Earthly plane, meant only for me, his only begotten son? A treasure of riches and gold which he'd held in hiding until this very moment? Every nerve ending tingled.

"Here you go, this is what he used." She handed the box over to me.

Remington-brand barber clippers with seven attachments!

After surreptitiously double-checking the bottom of the empty bag for the riches and gold, I thanked her for this, the most unexpected of presents, and took it home, where it lay in stasis for a couple of months until my hair reached the length where by the time I'd managed to clean the grease and oil off of one end, it had, Golden Gate Bridge-style, begun to coagulate on the other end. Rather than head out for the eight millionth time to the local Hairbutchery, I thought I'd give it a shot myself this time, with Pop's buzzing apparatus.

Needless to say, I wore quite a few hats the following week. But as time went on, I perfected my technique, and I've never paid money for a haircut since.

Today, when I got up and checked the mirror and noticed that my hair was well longer than the standard 3/8ths of an inch that I like to keep it, I got the ol' Remington out and set up for one of my bimonthly stylizing sessions. I flipped it on, to the satisfying low hum which always foretold having to spend quite a bit of the rest of the day cleaning hair clippings up from the bathroom floor. I put it to the side of my head to begin the procedure.


Aughh!! What the hell was that?! I looked at the little "receptacle" area of the clippers where the hair winds up once it's been cut off. Empty. I tried again, placing the thing firmly along the side of my receding locks. RNRNEERNNERNNGHKHGHKGHKK!! Again, nothing. And that sound! The stuff of nightmares, that was! I tried a few other places on my head, and fidgeted with the attachments in all different configurations. Lots more ugly sounds, and lots more of no hair getting cut.

Wait, wait-- I got a little that time! A small chunk of hair fell softly from the head of the clippers into the sink. Then another wisp, and another! Then it stopped working again, and went back to those cacaphanous, ear-splitting growls. I felt my hair in the spots that the buzzer refused to cut... a frizzy, wispy feeling. This machine was turning my hair into cotton candy! And as it was only hitting about one out of every five spots I put it, my head was beginning to look like a Chia Pet that had been snacked on by a ravenous ferret.

I made a tough decision at that moment. But if you've been reading this website for any length of time, you know that I don't back down from the tough decisions. It was time to retire the old boy.

I donned a baseball cap to hide my obliterated coiffure and headed down to Target, where, for just $7.99, I purchased Vidal Sassoon clippers. I also purchased two Hawaiian shirts, three plastic clothes hangers, and a bathroom scale, but that's not what this story is about, so forget I mentioned it (though if you can find snazzier Hawaiian shirts for $9.98, you go ahead and be my guest! And can you believe that with all the macaroni salad and chocolate ice cream I've been slugging away for the past two weeks straight, the bathroom scale says I'm only 190 pounds?! Which is like, my low point for the past seven or eight years! Now, some of that is no doubt the fact that I actually got parts of me cut off, but all of that added up shouldn't have added up to over a pound or so, so perhaps I've discovered the key to happiness and easy weight loss! Macaroni salad and chocolate ice cream! Is life good, or what?!)

Upon arriving home, I finished the job with the new clippers, which worked as smooth and as comfortably as a pair of silk panties, and then got on with the rest of my day. A day in which I did a couple of things, including getting back to the fitness room for the first time since my surgery, writing a bunch of stuff on the BBS, doing a little work for my boss, driving around town listening to Jimmy Buffett, beginning a re-read of the David Burns book, "Feeling Good", and losing at Galactic Civilizations. Fortunately, I've filled up enough of this page already that I don't feel compelled to write about any of that.

August 24, 2004

(Note: Regular readers will notice that I've changed the names of certain friends, acquaintances, and neighbors in the following pages.)

Welcome back! Ready for all-new, adventure-filled, riveting episodes of So Now Then, now less that a week away from the one year anniversary of the site's initiation? You are? Well. That's somewhat unfortunate, actually, as August 24, 2004 was yet again another relatively slow day in the ordinarily crazy, wacky life of one Ben "Myself" Parrish.

I realize I had promised to start getting back out there, and getting back on track with my life, as my Percocet prescription is just about empty, and for $50 a pop, I don't think I'm going to be going back for seconds -- err, thirds. I did give a gentle nod to this promise, as I went for a three-mile walk up and down Table Mesa Drive, in the early afternoon, a refreshing, invigorating stroll, to be sure. But that was about it for the "getting out there" part. Other than that, didn't chat with any neighbors, didn't venture out to any new restaurants... didn't really accomplish much of anything, really. I did update the most interesting thread on the BBS, my list of "Thoughts to Live By", which anyone who hasn't figured out how to live life yet should definitely go read. And I did schedule both an airplane flight and a hike with Samantha for next weekend (the airplane flight is solo, though, because nobody wants to get up as early as I demand the flights get started, because the later it gets, the bumpier it gets, and I don't need that kind of stress and strife in my life right now).

Aaaand, let's see, I... uhh... I played some more GalCiv, but that's not particularly... no...

Well, see, I got up really late (10:30) accidentally, so I didn't have a lot of time to accomplish things today. It was a short day, you see, and short days are, by their very nature, going to be restricted in the number of outstanding accomplishments that can be accomplished, you know? Also, it was a Tuesday, and everybody hates Tuesdays, right? I mean, they're like the most boringest days of the week, are they not?

So, considering all that, I'm surprised I actually got done as much as I did! A banner day, it was! Who will ever be able to forget... August 24, 2004!?

August 21, 2004

You want a full day of reasonable, steady, responsible living, or a half day of intense craziness, followed by another half of absolute inertia?! I hope you picked the latter, because check it:

Up like a shot -- a nervous shot of anxiety -- this morning, to bright, clear skies, and an absolute impossibility of chickening out and cancelling the flight at the last minute. I gave Samantha a ring at about 8 AM to ensure her that indeed, she was about to get her Cessna cherry popped, so get the hell up and get down here to P297! Around 8:30, she arrived, and asked for breakfast, a request I kindly fulfilled by showing her the way to my box of Crunch Berry cereal and a quart of 1% milk. I just had coffee, as the early hour and unmistakeable inner turmoil of barely suppressed terror were interfering with my normally ravenous appetite.

A quick call to 800-WX-BRIEF to make sure the weather would hold up, and then we were off! Upon arriving at the airport, I got the keys to the plane and asked Les, the chief flight instructor, where to taxi once we got to Cheyenne, to provide the easiest access to the restaurant on the field. My confidence and assuredness in communicating with the airport folks was surely noticed by Samantha, as surely as my shaking fingertips and shortness of breath while approaching and unlocking the airplane.

In an effort to bring my new passenger into the wonderful world of airplane preparation, I assigned her such tasks as untying the airplane and getting the stepstool out of the "trunk". As I was being particularly careful with my checklists, having not flown for a few weeks and a little apprehensive about the flight ahead, we did not actually get the engine fired up until about a quarter to ten, a half hour later than I'd planned. However, once we did, everything went smoothly through taxiing, through the standard warm-up routines, through gunning the engine and lifting off, all the way until the time we got up to altitude and turned the plane towards Cheyenne. That's when she said, "show me what this thing can do!"

Normally, I take it real easy on new passengers, as "straight and level" seems to be the favorite with the always nervous and testy first-timers. Not Samantha, here, though. She wanted an amusement park ride! Alright, I can do that, because I'm a meticulously trained, professional pilot. I would show her the "steep-banked turn".

This is a 360-degree turn, taken at a bank angle of no less than 45 degrees. It's amusing in that it feels like you're actually nearly on your side, and also because the G-forces necessary to keep the plane from losing altitude are quite noticeable, as your stomach continues to try to find a way to get to your feet, all the way through the turn. As we entered the turn, Samantha gave out a squeal of delight! Upon rolling out of the turn, she yelled, "Wooohoo!!"

I, however, went: "Uuuughhhghhhghh..."

I'm not sure what it was, whether it was the anxiety of having not flown for a while, or the natural tension of having a new person -- a female, no less -- in the passenger seat, or the residual effects of the fairly high amount of post-operative drugs that I'd taken since the Thursday previous, but while the plane rolled easily out of the turn, my innards did not, and I felt the very first tingles of those ugly beads of sweat beginning to form on my brow.

In the most manly way possible, I explained to Samantha that I'd like to actually keep the plane straight and level for awhile, as we made our way towards Cheyenne. Which I did, all the way until we approached Cheyenne and I got on the radio and gave them a call. "Cheyenne tower, Cessna 733 Romeo Lima five miles south, nine thousand four hundred, landing Cheyenne."


"Cheyenne tower, Cessna 733 Romeo Lima five miles south, nine thousand four hundred, landing Cheyenne?"

Still nothing.

"Cheyenne tower, Cessna 733 Romeo Lima, radio check please?" Silence. Well, with Cheyenne being a towered airport, if I can't talk to the tower, I can't land there. Normally I would have been bummed at this development, but due to the fact that we'd gotten such a late start, and due to the fact that I was still feeling noticeably queasy, and due to the fact that on top of all that, I started feeling like I had to go to the bathroom, I was more than happy to give 'er a 180 and head back to Boulder, apologizing to Samantha all the while.

On the way back, my nausea subsided enough for a few minutes to do a few more 360's for her and do the "rollercoaster", pulling back on the stick, then pushing it forward to impart the "weightless" feeling to everyone in the plane. Then I let her fly for a few minutes, all of this being received with delight. Being the consummate trooper, I continued to hide my now steadily-increasing feelings of dis-ease.

As we approached Boulder, I confirmed that the radio was indeed all screwed up, as others at the field could barely hear me as I desperately shouted my landing intentions into the microphone. Fortunately, Boulder doesn't have a tower, and thus no communications are necessary. That being said, it was a little nervewracking barrelling into town without knowing if anyone else knew I was coming. Fortunately, I was able to avoid any undesired mid-air collisions, and floated the plane down onto the runway with near-flawless precision (a success which did not go unnoticed by my appreciative co-pilot!)

The nausea subsided in an instant, and we rolled back to the parking spot, tied the thing down, let the office know that the goddamn radio doesn't work, then headed back to the apartment!

You think that's the end of the story, but it isn't! An hour later, Samantha and I tooled on down to Pearl Street to grab lunch at the Asian marketplace which had been set up in the middle of the street, while the sounds of Taiko drums rumbled in the background. I picked up some Thai, she picked up some Indian, and we sat on the grass while three small Asian children came over, sat down with us, and then began attacking us with little decorative paper umbrellas.

A good time was had by all. Some time later, Samantha's friend Crystal showed up, had a little lunch with us, and then the girls headed off to watch some weird hippie movie which it sounded like I would hate, and plus there were still some residual unpleasantries going on in my innermost regions, so I bid the lovely ladies a fine evening, and, flush with the multiplicitous social successes of the day, rolled on back to P297.

The second half of the day, I did nothing. But wasn't the first half worth it?

(Educational Note (for the kids): "Multiplicitous" is not really a word, but I like it. Go use it in front of your parents! And then tell them you're gay!)

August 20, 2004

Hi! Today I did some items, which I will now tell you about! One item that I did was go to lunch with Rich, at the ol' Lefthand Brewpub in Longmont, one of my favorite places from back when I was staying in Longmont, and don't you think THAT place has lost a little of its luster with me, the entire back wall full of beer taps, from which flow forth some of Colorado's best beer. Goddammit! You know, I've gotta start drinking again at some point. This is just ridiculous. Why should a guy who loves and appreciates beer as much as I do have to go without? What's wrong with havin' a few pops of brew now and again? I mean, yeah, I was all fucked up before, right, but now I think I've figured some things out about life, so shouldn't I be allowed to enjoy a goddamn BEER now and again!? Jesus CHRIST does this piss me off. Oh, sure, here's a tap to a keg fuuull of Dale's Pale Ale, the best goddamn beer you've ever had in your life, but nooo, you can't HAVE one, because then your alcoholic webpage would get screwed up. Well, I just don't understand this. I don't understand this at all. I want a beer, you miserable bastards! Gimme a goddamn beer already! SHIT!

Anyway, that was one item, during which Rich handed me an envelope in which was contained a fairly large check sent to me by my contract employer, even though I haven't technically done any work for them yet. I like this employer! They've let me finally attain my lifelong dream of being paid to do nothing!

Then I got home and did another item, which was to do a flight plan for Saturday morning's flight with my neighbor Samantha! Though this didn't take very long, since the route between Boulder, CO and Cheyenne, WY, my prospective target, can be described in essence as a "straight line", so the flight planning consisted of me drawing a straight line on a map, and then looking at it and going, "Hmm! Nice plan!"

The rest of my items, however, were superseded by the package I got in the mail containing the game Space Empires IV, a pseudo-competitor of Galactic Civilizations, which I purchased for comparison purposes, and also because it sounds pretty pathetic if all you put on your blog webpage is "played GalCiv all day". Now I can write the far more respectable, "played GalCiv and Space Empires all day".

This concludes the list of items that I accomplished today. And thus, will conclude this entry itself. Tune in tomorrow, when I will have even more items on which to report!

August 19, 2004

I left the apartment exactly one time today, to go to the mailbox and pick up the mail, in which was contained a post-operative questionnaire from the surgery center, asking me terribly personal questions about my levels of bleeding and nausea after the procedure last week. As I popped out of the apartment, who should be walking past but my upstairs neighbor, Samantha! As we have a flight scheduled for Saturday morning, this was an opportune chance meeting, as it gave us a chance to catch up and make sure our schedules were aligned, and to assuage her fear that if the weather was still bad by then, I'd still have to pay big money for the plane rental. It was not such an opportune meeting, however, due to the fact that I'd put on a primo "getting the mail" outfit, replete with ragged, dirty shirt and no socks, and was unprepared for a social meeting of such gravity, so I doubt I comported myself in the manner which would make a prospective passenger want to put her life in my hands, not to mention maybe have a little lunch afterwards.

That, however, was the most interesting -- and some would say, only -- thing that happened today. The rest of the day was spent eating breakfast cereal, dealing with one of the developers of GalCiv trying to figure out why the game has begun crashing my computer, excoriating Rich over AIM, waiting for Iron Chef to come on, and then not actually watching Iron Chef.

Oh, also I ate some ice cream, which was very very good. Have you heard of this stuff? This "iced cream"? Give it a try, if you get the chance.

August 18, 2004

There was a time (called "a week and a half ago") where getting up at 6 AM wouldn't have felt like such a big deal. Hell, for awhile there, 6 AM was called "sleeping late"! However, that time was long ago, before such modern inventions as "medical procedures" and "painkilling narcotics" and "lots of other pills that I can't figure out what they do but I take them anyway because the doctor told me to" came along. And now, folks, 6 AM seems... it seems early, it does.

But I went ahead and got myself up at that indefensible hour anyway, because I had stupidly arranged an appointment with the doctor at 8 AM, and it's over an hour drive to get there. Must remind myself never to arrange another doctor appointment at 8 AM.

Anyhoo, I got there, and they quickly ushered me into the back room, where Nurse Angie (who I think's a little sweet on your boy here especially after seeing my newly sculpted, only slightly bruised chest) went about the task of removing my stitches ("You won't even feel this. [snip]--" "OWWWwww!!"), and then called in the Good Doctor to have a look-see.

Now, as an amateur in the realm of liposuction recovery, when I stare into the mirror at home to get a look at how things are coming along, my reaction, more and more since the day of the surgery has been, "Huh. Well, it's better, nobody's saying it's not better, but I wonder if there's still quite a bit more that can be done." Without getting too graphic here, when I undo my garment and look at myself from the side, there's still a bit... hmm, how do I say this without grossing myself out... there's a bit... "peeking over the top", can I say that? So when Doc said, "How do you think it looks?" I let him know that, hey, he did a fine job in there, don't get me wrong, but when exactly was he thinking about actually finishing the job?

I was reassured by both the Doc and Nurse Angie that the "residual" left over was simply as a result of the swelling which is still quite profound (there's that word again) in the area where the liposuction took place. In Nurse Angie's own words, I "looked great on the operating table", so even discounting Nurse Angie's infatuation-fueled biass towards me, I was encouraged by their words, and in my relief nearly forgot to ask them to, if they wouldn't mind, just maybe write out another prescription for that... those pills? What were they called? I forget, cuz I don't even use 'em anymore, I just thought they'd be good to have around the house just in case, not that I'm ever going to use them, of course. I mean, I'm not addicted or anything, I just think it's a good idea to take all the necessary precautions and WRITE THE FUCKING PERC SCRIP OUT BITCH SO I CAN GET OUTTA HERE AND RUN REAL FAST LIKE TO THE PHARMACY oh god i need em oh god oh god

After grabbing the scrip, I bid a farewell to the Doc and Nurse Angie, who said I should talk to Jennifer out front and set up another appointment for next Friday. I let Jennifer know what they'd said, and instantly became intoxicated by her beautaceous visage as she clicked through her online Rolodex, to the point where when she looked up at me, with those eyes, and those rich, full lips and gorgeous hair and said ever-so-softly "How's 8 AM?", I just sighed back, "That'd be fiiine."

Ah, shit!

August 17, 2004

Ha! You probably think I'm just going to get on here and tell you that I spent another entire day playing Galactic Civilizations and waiting around to take Percocet! Well, my dear friends and readers, you are about to be sadly mistaken, as today featured not one, but two completely non-Percocet and non-GalCiv related activities!

Let's start with the morning, shall we, when I woke up, and immediately made my way over to the computer to play Galactic Civilizations for a couple hours. But wait! That's the point at which I did something totally crazy, totally new and exciting, and totally something which I hadn't done since way back in the days of Pinback's Web Central 2, when my fat obnoxious cats Bennie & Sera were still alive: I went across the street and got some Chinese carryout! Try to compose yourself as I regale you with this saga of adventure. Yes, I visited "Tsing Tao", the conveniently located Chinese joint next to the King Soopers, and left with a bag of MSG-laden loot including pan-fried dumplings, pork fried rice, and szechuan chicken, which I quickly (though not so quickly as to jar loose any sutures or wounds resulting from last week's surgery) lugged back over to P297 and launched into.

By way of reviewing Tsing Tao, let me simply say that you could search this country far and wide, east to west, from the majestic mountains of Santa Monica to the kitschy $1 T-shirt shops of Myrtle Beach, and you are unlikely to ever find Chinese food quite as weak as that offered by Tsing Tao, just 200 feet from where I sit right now. That'll teach me to do anything other than take painkillers and play Galactic Civilizations.

Ah, which leads us to the afternoon, which as I said, I did not spend playing GalCiv, but instead spent playing Korsun Pocket, a wargame set in the Eastern Front of 1944, and a game which as you can tell from this screenshot, is a ridiculously complicated game full of hundreds of little guys representing tank and infantry battallions, none of which I know what to do with, but which I enjoy moving randomly around the map a lot, watching them scurry to and fro and getting blown up by the remnants of the evil German war machine.

That took us up to prime pill-takin' time, at which point I (as the name would imply) took some pills, ate quite a bit of ice cream, and waited for the day to end.

Which, thankfully, it did.

August 16, 2004

This is getting awfully boring, I know I don't have to tell you that. All I did again today was get up, stumble around all day, play computer games, start peeling off bandages (by far the most excruciatingly painful part of this entire procedure), and generally just waiting for the next thing to happen. Waiting for 4:30 to come around, when at least some decent television starts coming on. Waiting until aroun 6:00 PM, so I can start taking Percocets which I've had to ration out to myself because there are so few left, and I want them to last all the way until my appointment Wednesday morning. Waiting to get hungry again so I can at least enjoy one physically rewarding experience. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

My mind is not yet revved up to 100% either, so rather than filling all this waiting time with highly-charged intellectual fire, it's generally filled with philosophical masterstrokes such as, "This room is square" and "I like muffins". Absolutely nothing is going on here lately, and although I know the doctors all said that the first week of recovery was set aside for absolutely nothing to go on, I do dislike the feeling of sitting here like a lump.

Well, I dislike it when there's no narcotic drugs coursing through my system, and as I got about seven more hours before I can start that party up again, it's... well, it's gonna be a long seven hours, I can tell you that. Let me once again thank the good people over at Stardock for creating the game GalCiv, without which I do not believe I could have endured this experience.

August 15, 2004

Another day of the harsh white light of reality trying to seep its way into my world and betwixt the finely woven layers of my compression garment, and another day of me keeping the light at bay by pulling my head back under the covers of various intoxicating pain medications.

Also, though, I took my mom back to the airport, so she could go back to South Carolina and start picking up the wreckage of her backyard left for her by Charley the Friendly Hurricane. Many public thanks to Mom here, for driving me to and fro, putting up with my Percocet-fueled aimless ramblings, and making the coffee every morning.

Once I got back from Denver International, I started back on a hefty diet of pills, while watching the end of the PGA Championship golf tournament, and playing hours and hours of Civilization III, at once trying to remember the rules, and trying to figure out how I could still suck so bad at a game that's been out, in one form or another, for nearly 15 years. After France decided to attack me, and I realized that my strategy of "never building any military units at all" was actually not the most brilliant civilization-building tenet on which to hang an emperor's hat, I quit the hours-long game in a hurry, and popped in Kill Bill Vol. 2, which I had purchased earlier in the week, but had yet to see. I do resent having to buy the movie "twice", in money-grubbing installments, but it is a heck of a film suite, I can't deny that.

Then more pills, and back to Galactic Civilizations, which is like Regular Civilization, except in space, and a lot simpler, which I appreciate, because I've got enough to worry about, what with these bandages having to be peeled off in a most excruciating manner some time in the next couple of days before I head back to the doctor's on Wednesday.

As this thing continues to heal, I am getting a greater sense of what the final product is going to look like, and I'm also getting a greater sense, unfortunately, that I'm gonna have to ask him to go back in and dig a little more goo outta me. He had said that, given the "profundity" of my case, this might be necessary, and that if they could avoid going back to the surgery center (and just do a little "touch up" work in the office), he wouldn't charge me for it, so I do hope that we can just take care of this right there in the waiting room, but we'll see. I think, though, as it stands, I look like a guy who still has gynecomastia, but not as bad as before. So, we're heading in the right direction, but I don't think this story's over yet.

Which can only mean: More Percocet prescriptions! Ohboy!

August 14, 2004

Other than a brief jaunt out on the town to show my mother the various pleasantries to be found on Pearl Street (street performers, sushi restaurants, crosswalk signs which count down the seconds until the big red hand shows up), little else was accomplished today other than sitting around playing GalCiv and getting really high on Percocet. I gotta tell ya, this recovery thing is starting to get a little old at this point. There's no real pain involved, but there's an awful lot of itching and scratching and feeling like you wanna crawl out of your skin.

Plus, the part about sitting on the couch all day is a little tiresome, too. Hopefully when I go in next Wedneday to get my stitches removed, they'll have some good news for me, like I can take off this grotesque corset they've got me winched up into here and maybe spend enough time outdoors doing something that the very hint of sunlight doesn't make me hiss and recoil in frightened pain.

Then I'll have better updates for you, I swear. (Oh, also, I'm having a little trouble... "getting things going" in the restroom lately, if you're following me here. More updates on that to come, too.)

August 13, 2004

Lost in the green haze of Percocet and Celebrex, memories come fleeting and vague the next morning, as I write this. I remember... drinking coffee. I remember driving back to the doctor's office for a post-op checkup with the doctor...

I remember the nurse saying, "You were so funny yesterday!" When? "When you were coming out of anesthesia! You had us all in stitches!"

I do not remember what I said which was so goddamn funny, and unfortunately, neither did the nurse. If I was coming with the A material, I want to know what it was, man! I do remember thinking I was having a very nice dream during the surgery, a large fun party where everyone was having fun and laughing. I now am beginning to suspect that it was not a dream, in fact, but I was coming with the TOP-GRADE comedy in my state of unconsciousness. Nice to know I can still bring it even when I'm asleep with tubes up my nose.

I remember going to Bennigan's and enjoying a lovely BBQ bacon cheeseburger, and then being driven home to the country twang of the latest Jimmy Buffett album.

I remember whiling away the rest of the day losing at Galactic Civilizations, watching Tiger barely escape missing the cut at the PGA, forcing my mother to watch Bowling for Columbine, taking more pills, and scratching myself silly. I haven't experiened any pain, per se, as a result of this surgery, but now that the numbness is wearing off from whatever crap they pumped into them meatbags, AGHH!! It's like being tossed around inside a giant feather pillow. And I think we all know how annoying that can feel.

Then I remember my good buddy Rich coming by, having a nice chat with mommy and me, giving me my stuff back, me giving him his stuff back, and then kicking his ass out before he got too big a head from my mother telling him how "cute" he is. I mean, sure, he's cute I guess, if you go for that type, but Jesus, mother, try to keep it in your pants in front of my guests, will you?

Then more pills and more pills and a brief stumble to find where the top side of the couch was and then slumped down and then sleeeeep.

That's just what I remember, though.

August 12, 2004

"You feel anything yet?" - Anesthesiologist
"Nope, not yet."
"Okay. How about now?"
"Not really. I mean, I guess I feel a little drowsZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ"

Whew! Have you done that? Have you gone in for a little surgery lately? Lemme just say, two thumbs up! Kick-ass drugs all over the place, plus a license to use them and then sit around all day like a lump, asking people to run around doing the most menial tasks for you, with a little puppy-dog look on your face... "Can you please hand me that object which is no more than four feet away from me, even though you're on the entire other side of the room, and obviously in the middle of something else?? Pleeeease?? =( =( =(" Yeah, good stuff, this surgery!

It's difficult to say how this actually could have gone better -- at least the procedure itself; I won't know how the actual... "results" turn out until I can get them to remove this bra-- err, FOUNDATION GARMENT in a week or two, and the swelling goes down. Other than that, though, everyone at the surgery center was nice, there was virtually no pain afterwards (I'm taking the Percocet anyway, though, since I paid for the goddamn stuff), and while I was under, my mother went to Target and bought me a Boohbah (Jing-Bah, specifically), so it was a successful day all around. In fact, it went so well, that the one nagging question that kept zipping annoyingly through the parts of my mind not knackered from the anesthesia or the Percocet was, "Why the hell did I wait this long to do this?" The answers, of course, lie in the same roots of the depression I've pulled myself out of, so in essence, it couldn't have happened any sooner. But I mean, geez. 33 years to wait for a 1.5 hour procedure. Tell you one thing, I ain't waiting till I'm 66 to get my body screwed with again. Let's see, what should I do next?

After returning home, the Momster and I finished up watching Lebowski, then sat around talking for a little while, and then I said, "Hey, lemme try some of these Percocets I've heard so much about." She recommended I start with just one, to be safe. But you're talking to Ben here, and while you can take the booze out of the alcoholic, you can't take the alcoholic out of the boozer, so I went straight for the double. Let me just say this about that:

Most people who know me know that I tend to (other than when I'm writing updates for my website) be fairly frugal in my communication. The "strong, silent type", that's me. If I don't have something very specific and (in my mind) important to tell you, the chances are that I'll just sit there, looking supercilious and making you think I'm thinking dastardly thoughts about you, which may in fact be the case, depending on who you are. I figured that Percocet, a drug I'm understand is famous for knocking you for a loop and rendering you incapable of performing such basic tasks as not drooling all over yourself, would do nothing but enhance this normal state of verbal reservation.


Here was an impression of me for the next three hours after I took the pills to when my mother finally insisted that I shut the fuck up and go to sleep:

BABAPAPAPAAPPBABABABAbaaBBAbAbabAbbaababPAPApaAPaABABABA!!!! And then?! And then?!!! BABABABAPAPAPAPAABAABABABABABpapapapapappbbababababaaboohbahboohbahboohabPAPAPABABA!!! OMG! OMG! BABABBapaapapa!! Etc, etc.!"

Jesus. Too bad there weren't no parties going on right about 9 PM, because I would have been the absolute life of same! Most of the discussion revolved around the ranking of the top three of everything in the universe. Movie, book, food, song, day of your life, things that are shiny, digits of pi... if it exists, I determined the best three of whatever it was. Why not "five"? Because by the time I got to three, I was ready to move onto the next thing!! Bababapapaabah!! I'm getting exhausted just thinking about it.

Anyway, that was that. Stay tuned for more updates on the physical recovery, and any other new revelations discovered under the wonderful, warm glow of my new favorite buddy, Percocet. Party at P297!

(Oh, BTW: One Month Button!)

August 11, 2004

Real quick now, because I gotta get to sleep... Spent most of the morning finishing up the game of Galactic Civilizations, winning a technological victory by staying friends with the only other civilization left, cranking up scientific research, and then hitting the "next turn" button over three hundred times. Then it was time to go to the airport to pick up mom. Then we drove back, hung around chatting for a while, then went out to a very nice Vietnamese restaurant, came back and watched a little Big Lebowski, and are just now preparing to turn in (separately, naturally.)

Now, there's a chance that you might not be getting any new updates for a couple days, but as I've not had any kind of surgery since I was 12 (to have my mammoth-sized penis shortened to a more reasonable length and girth), I don't really know how this is going to go.

And just in case there are any... difficulties: In lieu of flowers, please send sleeves of low-compression golf balls to the Ben Parrish Foundation, care of my mother.

August 10, 2004

Then again, sometimes you layout grandiose plans for adventure and accomplishment, and for one reason or another, it just never quite comes together.

Like, let's take today as an example. Here was my "to-do" list, that I drew up over my morning coffee and a bowl of Kellogg's "Blueberry/Strawberry Fruit Harvest" cereal (highly recommended!):

  • Devise flight plan for tomorrow, if in fact the weather holds up, and the plane that I'd scheduled to rent is actually back from the fixit shop, due to the time a few weeks ago when someone put the oil dipstick back in the wrong place and it blew up the engine.
  • Continue preparing for my upcoming work project by laying out a brief project plan and delving into the existing source code to develop a plan of attack for fulfilling the new project's requirements.
  • Write some C# code for the hex game, incorporating the various algorithms and concepts I had devised yesterday and had promised the development group I would put into code today.
  • Update the format of this website, based on the positive feedback I've gotten to the redesign idea I wrote about yesterday.
  • Prepare the apartment for the arrival of my mother on Wednesday, who's coming into town to assist with the process of having and then recovering from my surgery on Thursday.
  • Have lunch with Rich, at which point he would return to me a little adaptor thingy which I can use to plug my (musical) keyboard into my laptop, and record some of the new music I've been coming up with lately, so that my fans, so desperate for new material, can get their fix.
  • Do that very same recording, so that my fans, so desperate for new material, can get their fix.
  • Continue my re-read of No Place to Hide, which I am going over again with a highlighting pen so I can suck out all the most salient points, to facilitate recall of the most helpful content.
  • Solve all of the problems of war and disease and hunger in the world (time permitting).

Instead of these items, though, here is the list of what I actually did:

So it's to my shame that I have little of interest to report to you today, except for that fact that as I was shutting the machine off last night, the Drengin surrendered their empire to me, and now, still outnumbered two-to-one, but with a decided edge in the fields of technology and diplomacy, I am locked in a struggle for control of the galaxy with the evil Yor empire!! Ooh, this is so exciting!!!!!

Bonus Material

Ode To My Titties
by Ben Parrish

Well guys, we had a great run there.
Good times, all around, no hard feelings.
But I'm afraid that I can't see you anymore.
No, no, don't be like that. It's just...
Really, you gotta listen to me here.
It's not you, it's me. It totally is me.
It's what I'm going through.
You're both very, very special to me,
And I know you're hurting now,
And I wish there was something I could do.
But this is something where I think
I just need to move on.
I need to be by myself right now,
And I don't think it's fair to anyone,
To be in a relationship at this point.
Least of all you.
I'd just end up hurting you more.
I know you'll move on, and find someone else,
And your life will be better than ever.
But I need my space. I need to say goodbye.
I need closure.

Really, it's not you, it's me. And I'm sorry.

Have a wonderful life.

August 9, 2004

For a guy with no actual "job" or "responsibilities" or "things to do", this was a pretty goshdarned productive Monday all around, I'd have to say. Would you like to take a peek at all the productivity that occurred today? Would that be something you would like to do? Please say "no", because I've put off writing this update for over an hour so far, and would not mind putting it off further or just cancelling it completely. You know, the one year anniversary of So Now Then is coming up in just a little under three weeks, now, and other than those eight or nine months when I didn't write anything, I think it's been a rousing success so far. But still, when I wake up every morning and am faced with the prospect of pounding out yet another one of these autobiographical snippets, my muscles tighten, my brow begins to quiver, and various intestines and other slimy internal organs begin tying themselves into Mobius strips. I am winning the war of this website, but feel like I'm losing the battles every day. That's why I'm considering changing the layout!

Would you like to see a layout change? I am thinking something a little more clean and well-lighted, myself. A white background, rather than black. A soft colored banner spanning the top of the page, with the updates listed down the left column, the right column reserved for photos or supplementary material. In short, "the layout every other goddamn blog on the planet uses". Is that something you would like to see? Please email me your opinion, which I promise to either read, or delete without reading.

Now, back to that update. (God.)

Productive, yeah. Like I said. Here were the various productivenesses, broken down by category, because you people need everything broken down for you, like children who need their meat cut up, or kittens who won't crap in a litter pan unless it's that powdery stuff, instead of those big-ass "Fresh Step" boulders of pine-scented goodness.


Did two work related things, one which was to get on the web and download the database schema for the project which I'm going to be working on shortly. I'd worked with the schema years ago, back in my Knowledgelinks days, but as I've since tried to block out every second of that experience (except when my boss, Mitra, took me out to the picnic table behind the building, sat me down, started talking to me about the project, and then began sobbing uncontrollably, right there in front of me), I don't remember much of it. I still don't remember much of it, but at least now, I have access to the information, if I ever need it. Ah, the empowerment of potential knowledge!

The other thing I did was receive an email from my soon-to-be boss, proclaiming that he was going to send me a check for $3000, to "get the ball rolling". Now that's the kind of ball I like to see rolling! Unlike that thing in the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark. That was a bad ball to see rolling.


Though with just one big room, apartment P297 is not that hard to keep looking presentable, I had been a little lazy about the methods I used to keep it looking presentable. Primary among those methods has been, "Take anything that interferes with the presentability, and throw it haphazardly into one of the two big closets, and then shut the closet door." As a result, the closets had become piled high with random garbage, strewn about as if it had been stacked by the World's Worst Tetris Player. So, I took care of that, and now they're still piled high with random garbage, but the Tetris score has improved remarkably.

Also I Windexed the coffee table and bathroom mirrors, and scrubbed the toilet. Aw yeah.


I successfully noodled through a problem related to the computer game I'm trying to write (see the 8/7 update), and subsequently documented the solution on the BBS, in what genuinely has to be considered the most boring thread in BBS history. But still, it felt like progress, and made my geeky innards tingle with delight.


But certainly what has to be considered the highlight of the day was that the lovely Samantha from upstairs came over for dinner, and enjoyed my meticulously prepared Kashmiri chicken, served on a bed of this rice!

The meal was delicious, the company was delightful, and the whole thing has to be considered a success on all fronts, including this:

Titanic were my internal battles leading up to her arrival, as my old fears and anxieties squared off in full force against my newfound powers to combat them. No quarter taken or given on either side, the war raged on, from about 2 PM in the afternoon to about ten minutes after she arrived. I'm happy to report to you, dear readers, that this time, the good guys won out, the timeless foes were vanquished (for today, at least), and everyone lived happily ever after.


Then I washed the dishes.

August 8, 2004

Well, just kind of a long, lazy Sunday today. The kind of day that makes you think, "Sure is nice to get a chance at the end of a long week to just lie around and relax." The kind of day that makes you think, "Even God rested on a day like this." The kind of day that makes you think, "Boy, tomorrow's update is really going to suck."

I had a whole "to-do list" ready to go in the morning, including catching up on bills, doing my budget, doing laundry, cleaning the refrigerator, cleaning the bathroom, organizing the closet, things like that. But by about 11 AM, everything was done, and gasp!, I realized I had basically an entire day left over to fill.

I tooled on over to the airport for a little bit to buy another sectional chart, and chat with some of the pilot-types over there. You've probably got a vision of a bunch of crusty old flyboys sittin' around, chomping on cigars, hair still mussed and windblown from their last open-cockpit landing, talkin' about some physically impossible maneuver they pulled off back in the Nam, and admonishing passersby to "don't lissen to what that there Cessna manual tells ya, that ain't no way to fly, boy!" What you'll normally find instead is: Nerds. And standing there in my goofy Hawaiian shirt, yapping with one of their mousy, goofball instructors about where to fly for the best hamburger, I fit the part to a "T", let me tell ya.

After getting home, it was time to start preparing for lunch. But as I had failed to take the ribeye out of the freezer in the morning to thaw, I realized that I probably was not going to have my beloved philly cheesesteak, and would have to come up with another idea. This is probably for the best anyway, since philly cheesesteaks, delicious as they are, can't be the healthiest thing in the world for you, and really, how many philly cheesesteaks can a man eat in a single week? (Six.)

I stood at my cutting board, sucking up inspiration from flashes of the hundreds of hours I've spent watching the Food Channel, waiting to be hit by an epiphany, waiting for a brand new recipe to pop into my head, an "artistic creation never before experienced", as they say on Iron Chef. All hope was nearly lost until... Aha! That's IT!

I make sure never to say "Aha, that's IT!" aloud anymore, because over the years, my neighbors at all the various apartment buildings in which I've resided have learned that when I say "Aha, that's IT!", it means I'm going to try cooking something that isn't based on a professional recipe, and that when I do that, four times out of five, it results in noxious, wallpaper-peeling fumes wafting from the air vents, and the subsequent foul stench of whatever thoroughly inedible pile of walrus mucous has been left in the pan from my ill-fated experiment. So instead, I quietly tiptoed out across the street to the King Soopers, and rounded up the ingredients that had appeared so vividly in my mind.

Then I got back and cooked it, and then I ate it. And while four out of five times, my experiments are a godawful mess, that fifth time, you get something truly amazing.

Welcome to the fifth time. And in the spirit of giving, and also in the spirit of filling up a bunch more space so I can quit writing this update, I present to you, the brand new recipe:

Ben's Famous Roasted Poblano & Sweet Corn Burrito

  1. Roast a poblano pepper.
    1. Cook under a broiler, turning every few minutes, until skin is blistered and charred.
    2. Place pepper in closed bag (Ziploc, or paper, or whatever.)
    3. Allow 15 minutes to cool
    4. Peel, seed, and coarsely chop.
  2. Mix 2 tbsp cream cheese with 1 tbsp Melinda's Mango Habanero Sauce (or some other sweet/spicy sauce)
  3. Cut kernels off one ear of good sweet corn.
  4. Slice 1/2 medium yellow onion.
  5. Mince 2 cloves of garlic.
  6. Buy a cheap bag of grated jack/cheddar cheese (or whatever you want).
  7. Seed & slice 1/2 ripe tomato.
  8. Saute the onion, garlic, and corn in olive oil, with S/P, until corn is fully cooked.
  9. Spread cream cheese mixture over a large flour tortilla.
  10. Sprinkle a layer of the grated cheese on top of that.
  11. Layer the corn/onion/garlic mixture on top of that.
  12. Layer the chopped poblano on top of that.
  13. Layer the sliced tomato on top of that.
  14. Layer 2 tbsp of avocado on top of that.
  15. Sprinkle a little salt/pepper on top of that.
  16. Squirt some fresh lime juice on top of that.
  17. Roll the whole thing up, and shove it in a 350 degree oven for ten minutes.
  18. CHOW DOWN, baby!
Then I watched NASCAR and read a math book and played Civilization III and goofed off the entire rest of the day.

August 7, 2004

Welp, in continuing with yesterday's theme, I spent the first hour or two of the day feverishly downloading and running "anti-spyware" software on this laptop, to get it cleaned up from all these horrible invaders which cause fifty-three million popups and random icons to show up on my desktop every second. Oh, it was a comical scene indeed, as while these poor "cleansing" programs were running, I was having to continually close or otherwise move out of the way all of the windows that were popping up on top of it, to answer its fairly obvious questions. "294 spywares have been found on this computer, do you want to clean them?" Well, yes I do, but it's difficult to do that when as soon as I move the mouse over to the "Yes, Of Course, You Idiot" button, a window advertising a great new set of SMILEYS I could download, or even better, a great new SPYWARE CLEANER I could buy, would obscure the damn dialog box.

If you're playing along at home, I did each of these things at least three times, and only once they had ALL been done, in this order, and repeatedly, did I seem to cut off the influx of new problems:

  • Ran "Ad-Aware"
  • Ran "Spy Sweeper"
  • Ran "Spybot - Search & Destroy"
  • Ran programs like "regedit" and "msconfig" which I had no business messing with, clicking randomly through their manifold options and choosing to hit "delete" anytime I saw something which was not directly related to "self-serving web log", "Warcraft III", or "pornography", and thus did not belong on this computer.
You'll be happy to know, though, that with all that done, success appears to have been achieved, and now I am only disturbed by a random pop-up advertisement every ten minutes or so. Alright! "Freedom. Yeah, right." - Rage Against the Machine.

Simmering down from all of this frustration, I decided that I needed a break from the computer, you know? Needed to get out there on a beautiful, sunny Saturday, experience the world! Maybe meet some new friends, maybe have a little fun, maybe even learn a little something... about myself!

What I did not do was that. What I did do was continue to sit at the computer the entire rest of the day, because, you see, ever since I was a little kid, I've wanted to develop a computer game which looked like this. The technical name for this kind of game is a "hex-based, turn-based wargame". Players take turns moving their little guys (representing military units or equipment) around a map consisting of hexagonally-shaped tiles, until one of them surrenders in shameful defeat, and is then summarily executed by the victor, who presumably goes on to rape and torture his wife and children. Fun for the whole family!

However, it is only recently that I've actually put forth any, whaddya call it... "effort" into accomplishing this boyhood dream of mine, a dream you can follow along with at this very webpage!

The deeper into the development I get, though, the more I know that I don't know, and the more I feel woefully unprepared and lacking the knowledge necessary to actually do what I'm trying to do. So I spent most of the day on the internet, searching through old archived discussions about similar development projects, looking at code like this:

/* doubles x, y, and z hold the initial raw ungridded position */

double rx, ry, rz;
int ix, iy, iz, s;

ix = rx = rint(x);
iy = ry = rint(y);
iz = rz = rint(z);
s = ix + iy + iz;
if(s) {
    double abs_dx = fabs(rx-x),
           abs_dy = fabs(ry-y), abs_dz = fabs(rz-z);

    if(abs_dx >= abs_dy && abs_dx >= abs_dz) ix -= s; /* abs_dx is max. */
    else if(abs_dy >= abs_dx && abs_dy >= abs_dz)
      iy -= s; /* abs_dy is max. *.
    else iz-=s;

...and reading sentences like this:

The insight is that a uniform hex grid is the isometric projection of an infinite grid of unit cubes whose centers satisfy the equation x+y+z=0.

...and making faces like this:

...because I don't have any idea what these people are talking about. I just want to make TANKS roll around on the screen and BLOW EACH OTHER UP!! Can't you just tell me how to do THAT? I don't need all this "abs_dy" and "unit cubes" and "rint" (the hell is a "rint" anyway?) crap, just show me how to do the goddamn TANKS, already. Like, you know...


Taunt("Ha ha hahahaa YOU SUCK!!!!!");

Rape_Torture(wife, children);

That's the kind of help I need, but it doesn't look like my extended happy internet family is going to be able to assist me much with that, so it looks like I'll have to go it alone.

I wouldn't expect this game to be released any time soon.

August 6, 2004

Kind of a slow one here at ol' P297. First of all, I've become so desensitized to T. J. Maxwell now that I find I'm willing to let the radio play longer and longer each day before I feel compelled to get up and shut the thing off. As a result of that, I didn't actually get up until about a quarter after six. This, of course, will not do, so I'll try to reel it back in again over the coming days.

Spent a bit of the morning redoing the ol' resume to incorporate some changes that were suggested to me by a couple of colleagues, including adding the reasons why I seem to leave a company every six months, so it would not appear that I just voluntarily jump ship any time a few extra bucks are dangled in front of my face. Of course, now the resume seems to suggest that any company unwarily sucked into giving me a job is immediately given a six month death sentence, so it's yet to be determined whether or not this is actually an improvement.

The rest of the morning was taken up chatting with my old buddy Chris over MSN chat, and on the phone with my old honeybunny Sue, from way back in the Perimeter days! Sure is nice to hear a few voices from your younger days once in a while, and this was no exception. Everyone sounded happy and healthy, none the worse for wear from having crossed paths with me, lo those many years ago. Both, however, expressed shock that I am no longer drinking. "Who is this?!!" Yeah, yeah. Have your little fun.

Then a spot of lunch, and an hour or so of doodling around the apartment looking for ways to put off sitting down and doing a little Hexwar programming. I suppose I'm still not cured of the compulsion to avoid doing anything "work-like", due to my hidden fears of not doing something perfectly, but of course, once I start actually writing the code, it's hard to get me to stop. And so it was that I just obliterated the next four or five hours happily (and geekily) tweaking C# code, trying to get pretty pictures to show up on the screen just right, and by the end of the session, I'd actually made some pretty good progress, into a form of programming (actually two forms of programming: Windows, and graphics) with which I had had essentially zero prior experience. Just look at these results and try to tell me I'm not making technological magic over here.

That took me all the way to about 8:00 PM, which left me with an hour to kill before the exciting conclusion of last night's Iron Chef battle started, so I spent that hour desperately trying to stem the ever-increasing tide of adware/spyware which has recently all but taken over my computer. In the space of one week, it went from an occasional minor annoyance to the point where I'm occasionally not even able to click the close pop-up windows fast enough to keep up with how fast they're being created. Repeated execution of "Ad-Aware" has been ineffective. Repeated execution of all other sorts of adware-removal programs (several of which are actually adware delivery agents in disguise, no doubt) has been ineffective. The deluge has become overpowering, overwhelming. It cannot be stopped. I don't know what to do. I'm dyin' over here.

I think I may end up having to do a fresh reinstall of Windows in order to fix this problem. If that indeed ends up being the case, then you can expect the August 7 entry to read: "6:00 AM - 10:00 PM: Did a fresh reinstall of Windows." Stay tuned.

August 5, 2004

Whew, what a day! What did I do? What didn't I do? After waking up to the strained warbles of one T. J. Maxwell, I got myself together and remembered that I'd scheduled to go flying this morning. I do admit to feeling a little of the old excitement when T. J. said something (in an extremely annoying voice) about "On a cloudy day like this...", which might mean I'd have to cancel (oh, darn!) the flight, but I was able to forgive myself for this by remembering that my plan today was just to do "pattern work", taking "laps" around the airport, essentially doing nothing other than practicing taking off and landing. And while flying across the fruited plains of this great country is a wonderful, spiritually enriching experience, taking off and landing are stressful, difficult tests of nerves and skill. And I hate stressful, difficult tests.

[Un]fortunately, contrary to what ol' T. J. yanked out of his gullet and spewed through the airwaves, it was not a cloudy day, so at 7:30, I popped on over to the airport and dutifully began preflighting the airplane. Then before getting in, I had to run back into the building and go to the bathroom. What other blog website is going to give you these kinds of personal, pertinent details, huh? Oh, they'll tell you that they scoffed at danger, and soared like an insane, bipolar eagle through the crisp morning sky, but they won't tell you about blasting diarrhea all over the flight school's men's room right beforehand.

Then it was time to practice! Let me just say this, I took off five times! And, even better than that, I also landed five times. As you generally like these numbers to match up, it was a successful 0.9 hours ($66) all the way around. On my way out, I attempted to purchase new flight charts, but they had not yet arrived at my school, so I went down the road to Dakota Ridge, and asked Hillary there at the front desk to hook me up. Hillary, if you're curious, is the hottest female I've ever seen within ten miles of a small airport like this. She is the "Curley's Waitress" of Boulder Municipal Airport. She can sell me charts any time, knowhumsayin'?

I came back home and did some stuff I don't remember, and then it was off to Pearl Street for a spot of lunch! I had searched citysearch quite a bit in the previous couple weeks, looking for the local "best-ofs", so I could skip the trouble and expense of dining experimentation, and just head right for the top spots. As I found myself in the mood for a hamburger, I remembered that a place called Tom's Tavern had been consistently ranked at the top of the "best burgers" list, so I would be remiss if I didn't give the place a try, yes? I found the place with relative ease, and just like old times, walked right in and sallied right up to the bar. Just like old times, I ordered their finest cheeseburger. Not just like old times, I also ordered a Diet Coke. <<sniff>>

Let me just say this about that: When in Boulder, and you're looking for the absolute best burger in town? Here's a hint: Go right down to Pearl Street, park your car on 10th and Spruce, stroll down to Tom's Tavern, and then keep walking about 30 blocks east until you get to the Wendy's on Route 36. THIS is the best burger in town? A thin patty of ground beef with one slice of American cheese, one slice of tomato, and one round of onion? What are you people talking about?! The sushi place next door could probably whip together a better burger! Stop the insanity, I beg of you!

After that somewhat disappointing adventure, back to P297, where I found myself bored and restless, so I went across the street to the liquor store, bought a bottle of Bacardi, and downed about half of it while watching the Food Channel.

HA HA! GOTCHA! No, I was just kidding about that. We can kid about it now, that's what we do. No, instead of doing that, I got myself a 2 PM tee time at Indian Peaks, and then headed down there to squeeze in a quick 18. Hadn't golfed for a few weeks, after injuring my hand, and so I was a little concerned about how this was going to go. When my first tee shot sprayed about 40 degrees to the right of where I aimed, and was lost forever among the thick weeds of an untended hillside, my concern was not assuaged. However, as the day rolled on, I was able to hold it together and come out with a respectable 88 (I think... I wasn't actually writing the score down.) Also, David and Jeff, the two guys I played with, were nice enough chaps, which is always a pleasant happenstance.

Then I came home and spent the next hour in a chat window with Rich's Girlfriend Darlene, having a fairly difficult discussion about a series of unfortunate misunderstandings that had taken place the week before, causing some hurt feelings amongst all of the parties involved. I'd reproduce the discussion for you here, but unlike some people, I'm smart enough to delete the contents of the goddamn chat window when I'm done with it.

That conversation having reached a tenuously amicable conclusion, I realized that the long, big day had taken its toll on me, physically as well as emotionally, so I lied like a lump on the Big Green Couch, until Iron Chef came on, when I began lying like a lump on the Big Green Couch, watching Iron Chef. (It was a tie! Between Chen Kenichi and some other goddamn slope! Tune in tonight for the exciting conclusion!)

Whew, what a day!

August 4, 2004

Weeell, I don't have a ton of new material for you today, so in an effort to fill up a little extra space, I'll revisit my "morning routine", to see how it has evolved in the past couple weeks from a tentative foray into rigorous morning routine into an honest-to-goodness rut. Come with me on my Journey Through Dawn:

5:20 AM -- Alarm clock goes off. I have my alarm clock tuned to 760 AM, which here in the Denver area, is a sports-talk station most of the day. But this early in the morning, they broadcast a show called "Business for Breakfast", or just "B4B" as the hosts call it. As if the name of the show itself wasn't enough to make you want to round up the human race into Daytona International Speedway and drop a nuke on it, the primary host, one "T. J. Maxwell" (riiight), has, by far, the most annoyingly affected radio voice I have ever heard. And I'm a hound dog when it comes to sniffing out affected radio voices. I can spot a "toothy 'S'" or a coathanger-throat on a radio that isn't even turned on, but this guy is the absolute worst I have ever heard. If you can distance yourself emotionally from it, it's even hilarious. I can NOT distance myself emotionally from it, though, which is why I have it on my alarm clock, because it pisses me off so much that it gets me fired up and psychotic and forces me to get up, go over, and pound that thing into submission (the radio, I mean). B4B, my ass.

5:45 AM -- Make coffee, put bedding back in the closet, sit down at computer, check email, check BBSs, and basically kill time in any way possible, postponing the inevitable, when I'll have to write the SNT update.

6:15 AM -- Write the SNT update.

6:45 AM -- Sit around finishing coffee, editing the update, and basically killing time in any way possible, postponing the inevitable, when I'll have to go to the fitness room and do the bike for 30 minutes.

7:00 AM -- Go to the fitness room and do the bike for 30 minutes.

7:30 AM -- Dick around for awhile, and maybe have breakfast. Now, for a while there, I was having fairly substantial, meal-like breakfastses; the honeyed buttered muffins, the biscuits & gravy, a little 'Egg McMuffin' ripoff I started putting together. But as I've spent most of this week using my lunch hour to perfect my Philly Cheesesteak recipe, I've been kind of holding off on breakfast a little more. Lately, it's been an apple, maybe a plum or some kind of other fruit, and that's about it.

8:00 AM -- Shower up, get dressed, and get ready for the BIG DAY AHEAD!

8:25 AM -- Stand around trying to remember what the hell I was supposed to do during the big day ahead.

8:30 AM -- Start the BIG DAY AHEAD!

Today held fairly exactingly to the schedule, so all I've got left to tell you is about the BIG DAY AHEAD! Here's what my big day ahead consisted of:

I spent several hours tuning and fine-tuning and converting into various formats and posting on various websites, my resume. And what a delightful resume it is! I don't even have a company, and even I want to hire myself, after looking at that thing!

I also did quite a bit of reading, and finished off my latest self-help book. I think, though, that this will conclude the initial "rabid study" portion of my self-therapy and recovery from depression. The books are starting to repeat themselves an awful lot, so I think I've got enough information absorbed and at the ready that I can return all these things to the library, so that they may help some other poor, wretched soul, and I'll get on to the nasty business of actually putting the knowledge to good use, and living a life worthy of the name Benjamin Alexander Parrish.



Yes, Alexander. What of it?

Baaaaaaaahahahahahahhahahahahh!! "Alexander"! HAhahhahah.

Oh, shut up.

August 3, 2004

King Soopers Grocery Stores, Marketing & Management Division
3600 Table Mesa Drive
Boulder, CO 80305

Dear Sirs,

Greetings. I am a recent transplant to the Boulder area, and have become a regular customer of your stores since that time. In fact, as one of your stores is literally right across the street from my new apartment, I have found myself taking strolls over to your establishment nearly every single day for one reason or another, and sometimes more often than that. Let me first say that for the most part, I am a very satisfied customer, and am generally willing to overlook any niggling complaints I might have, such as the following, which I bring up for illustrative purposes only, and not in a spirit of hostility or undue criticism:

  • I have been unable to locate containers of either Cheez-Whiz or Velveeta Cheese Spread at any of your locations. It is not listed on the big directory board. It is not in the "sliced cheese" section, nor is it in the gourmet cheese case. I have little use for either of these products, but it would be nice to know that if I should become desirous of one or both of them, they will be easily available to me.
  • Could you turn up the volume on those auto-checkout machines any louder? Do I need this smarmy computerized bitch screaming at me "PLEASE PLACE THE ITEM IN THE BAG!! PLEASE PLACE THE ITEM IN THE BAG!! PLEASE TAKE YOUR RECEIPT!! PLEASE DO EVERYTHING I SAY!! PRETTY PLEASE!! WITH CHEEZ-WHIZ ON TOP!!" Like I don't get enough of these whiny, needy broads in real life, now I gotta put up with her? At maximum decibels? I'm just trying to buy a goddamn BAGEL, alright, quit YELLING at me.
  • What is up with hiring all those retards to bag stuff? "Dahhhh, paper or plastic ma'am!? Daaaaahhh. How... how are you today ma'am!? My mommy packed me a baloney sandwich today but HEY CAN I HAVE A TENNIS BALL?? Daaahhhh." I'd rather listen to the loud computerized chick than these mouth-breathing mongoloids.
  • Get granny off "sample" duty. Nobody wants to eat little toothpicked globs of oily meat-like substance with that gray old drooling blue-hair shoving her bony, quivering little digits in your face, "Here, deary, try some of this processed yak spleen... I tried to eat it but my dentures kept slipping and sliding over the congealed fat and grease, dear." Get away from me, you old bat.
  • You call that a seafood section? Get real.

But as I said, I'm willing to overlook these points, in order to get to the real reason for this letter, which is to ask you to please reduce the price of drugs and fruit in your store, and do it yesterday.

Let's face facts here, alright? You are fat. You are enormous. You can barely breathe with all that cellulite clogging up your neck and lungs, and doing anything as strenuous as pulling your rotund monstrosity of a body off a couch leaves you bent over, gasping for relief. Do you know why you are so goddamn fat? Because giant cans of Stagg Extra-Beefy Chili & Cheese & Fried Beans & Extra Cheese & Bacon are TEN FOR A DOLLAR, and you look to be good for about a two-dollar-a-day diet of that crap. Do you know what might help? Hey, lardmeister, here's a concept: Eat a fucking apple once in a while, why don't you? No, seriously, why don't you?

Oh, that's right, because apples, one of the few things in your store that actually does grow on trees, are approximately TEN DOLLARS EACH, and could break the bank if you wanted to get a whole bag of them, god forbid. You are KILLING yourself, and killing this country with this ridiculous price structure. I shouldn't be walking around the fucking produce aisle having to do intense math calculations in my head to see if I can make rent if I grab a goddamn bag of green grapes to snack on while I sit on my couch pulling my pud to Giada DeLaurentiis on the Food Channel. To paraphrase Steve Martin in _Planes, Trains & Automobiles: I want a fucking plum. Right. Fucking. Now. Fix this immediately, or I will hunt down your shrill, lumbering walrus of a wife and slice her tits off with a meat cleaver.

Ah, which segues nicely into my next topic, seeing as how I myself am going under the knife in a few days to get my own "frontal lobes" chopped off. Now, as your cholesterol-addled brain might have trouble comprehending this, I will say it extra slowly: Getting... cut up... in surgery... tends to... hurt afterwards. Are you following me here? Gooood, very good. Now, what do we do when we're in pain? That's right, we drink rum and beer. But I can't do that anymore, you see, so what I have to do is get prescriptions from my doctor, so that you can fill up the little bottles with Dr. Feelnothing's Magic Pills, and I can lie on my couch for two weeks after the surgery and pretend I'm an astronaut! That should take care of the physical pain of recovery.

But you know what pain it won't take care of? The pain of handing over one hundred and fifty eight dollars to your "doctor" in there, ol' Habib Al Muhammed-Al Qaeda in there with his fancy little tubular pill-sorter of death, as he smugly gives me the little plastic orange bottles, saying "TANK YOU, COME AGANE! TANK YOU PLEASE YES SIR TANK YOU!"

You know what other pain it won't take care of? The pain of me finding where you live, coming to your house, gutting your children and stringing them up to let all the blood drain out, then one by one, cutting off your fingers and toes and feeding them to you with the Safeway Select-brand Dijonnaise Mustard which is on sale for club members at the reasonable price of just $2.59 for a 12 ounce jar, if you don't give me my fucking fruit, and give me my fucking drugs, without me having to take out a fucking loan, or putting a mortgage down on my fucking house, which I can't even do, because I don't even fucking own one. Get it?! Got it?!!? Good!



Ben Parrish

August 2, 2004

Howdy folks. Not much to report today, I'm afraid. I spent quite a bit of time studying and practicing programming in C# (in an attempt to pretend that I actually have a job during the week), then finished up watching the movies I needed to return to the store, then returned them to the store. Played a lot of music on the keyboard and guitar throughout the day, too. No personal interaction or big "successes" to report, as, well, just not much happened. What can I say, not every day's a parade.

I do want to make it clear, though, to nobody in particular, that C# is the best language ever, and when I do get a job, I want it to be a job programming C#. Yeah, yeah, I know, it's Microsoft, big evil corporation, bane to righteous, pocket-protector-wearing, emo-listening CS geeks everywhere, but, damn, at least the thing works. The development environment is tight. The language is crisp and clean, and isn't gooked up with all the obfuscated esoteric garbage which can make Java such a chore. I mean, wonder of wonders, I tried doing some DATE variable manipulation, and WOW! I didn't even need to search through the API documentation for an hour and a half to figure out which package I needed to import, or how to properly instantiate with the right constructor! I just created a DATE object, and -- get this! -- it actually worked! Right away! Amazing! I think the main benefits of C# over Java can be best illustrated in the following example, in which I assign a new title to "bob", who is an instance of an "Employee" class in a hashmap of employees:

((Employee) employees.get("bob")).setTitle("Vice President");


employees["bob"].Title = "Vice President";

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up, I think. Even you non-programmers out there can tell which language would most encourage a developer to put forth his best effort and complete his tasks with enthusiasm and vigor, and which language would most encourage a developer to, say, quit his job and then travel the country for a year, vowing never to return to the computer industry.

August 1, 2004

Welcome to another month, as we count down the last 29 days until So Now Then's one year anniversary! Please email me if you can come up with any suggestions about how to celebrate this tremendous milestone in blogging history. Perhaps a party? Or maybe put a ten dollar bill and send it to me, to repay me for all the hard work I do here every day to entertain you people? Five bucks, at least. C'mon, that's like, less than 50 cents a month. A few pennies per update. Come on, you cheap sons of bitches, put the lotion in the basket for ol' Benny here! Jesus Christ!

Toward the end of June, I proclaimed to friends and family alike (well, to Clash, anyway) that July was going to be the MONTH OF BEN. I had no particular plan on how it was going to be the MONTH OF BEN, but I stated, with no uncertainty or compunction at all, that it was most definitely going to be the MONTH OF BEN. About a week into the MONTH OF BEN, though, I realized that I hadn't actually done anything worthy of the MONTH OF BEN, and that perhaps I should have put together some sort of plan, some sort of outline of accomplishments which could make July worthy of the esteemed title, the MONTH OF BEN.

Who could have guessed, then, that on that seventh day, through a set of seemingly random, incongruous circumstances, a magical (and to some, very disappointing) transformation began, which would come to not only solidify July, 2004's legacy as the MONTH OF BEN, but in all likelihood would secure for 2004 itself the title of the YEAR OF BEN! Holy moose crap on a stick! Jesus himself was reborn at the age of 33. Coincidence?

What secrets, then, does August harbor behind its shadowy facade? What capitalized title will it garner? Well, after perusing my schedule for the rest of the month, I'm inclined to call it the MONTH OF PAIN KILLERS. Or perhaps the MONTH OF RUNNING OUT OF MONEY, or its close cousin, the MONTH OF EATING EIGHT-FOR-A-DOLLAR RAMEN NOODLE PACKETS.

Perhaps I should take a more optimistic view of August and call it the MONTH OF SENDING A FEW RESUMES OUT, or even the MONTH OF CLEANING OUT THE TWO-MONTH OLD ROTTING FOOD FROM THE REFRIDGERATOR. Or perhaps the MONTH OF MEETING OTHER PEOPLE TO DO THINGS WITH OTHER THAN Rich & Darlene, WHO I BELIEVE ARE RAPIDLY TIRING OF MY PRESENCE IN THEIR PRECIOUS "COLORADO". Maybe a more cautious, self-preserving tack is called for, though. For instance, if I don't want to end up paying any late fees to the video store across the street, August will most definitely be the MONTH OF RETURNING THESE THREE DVDS I GOT SITTING RIGHT HERE BY 11 PM TONIGHT.

From all indications, though, it seems most likely that August will in fact be the MONTH OF SPENDING AN ENTIRE PAGE MAKING "MONTH OF" JOKES BEFORE ACTUALLY GETTING TO THE GODDAMN UPDATE. As I see the page of "month of" jokes is just about complete, let's move onto the daily events of August 1:

Today was all about financial responsibility, as I fleshed out (not in the mad scientist/Frankestein way) my budget even further, paid the rent, paid some more bills, and sent in another credit card application with an introductory 0% APR, so that when my new Capital One card's 0% APR expires in January, I'll have some place to transfer whatever debt's still there. If that ain't financially responsible, I don't know what is. Also, I made a firm commitment to myself to stop rolling blunts with $100 bills. $20s should do fine from now on (although all those crazy new dyes they're using really make it a tough pull.)

Betwixt all of this number crunching, I had an enjoyable lunch with Rich, after which he took me to his place of work and showed me the sorts of tasks that he is called upon to perform during a standard work week, which appeared to my layman's eyes to consist mainly of 1) plugging things into other things, and 2) stealing equipment.

After all that, back home to really hit the budget hard and figure out what the future holds for my fiscal well-being. Here are the cold, hard facts I came up with:

  • At my current burn rate, given an income level of nothing, by the end of October, I will have attained a total net worth of zero dollars and zero cents! I will be, as the self-help books continue to naively insist that I am not, worthless! Not bad for 33 years of hard work, eh?
  • Putting budgets together is really, really boring.

My goal of utter worthlessness clearly in my sights, I closed up the Money Store and watched one of the movies which I have to return today, and then spent the rest of the day successfuly but laboriously staving off a tsunami-like wave of depression, which you can read a little more about here, on the big bad BBS.

That's about it. Welcome to the MONTH OF-- well, the month of August.

PWC3 | PWC2 | Jetstream | MOPO | PWC | Perimeter