luck and happenstance

boiled in lead – no passenger lyrics
From the album songs from the gypsy

Walkin’ down an empty street in a city I don’t know
Whistlin something catchy as I make my way through snow.
Ain’t got no gloves so I keep my hands balled up in fists;
I’m tryin’ not to think how it all came down to this.
I been searching for a sparrow in a city full of wrens
I been asking for the cost so I can make amends
I been waiting for the questions so my answers will make sense
I been looking for the way home but the snow is much too dense.
They said “Why are you here?” I said, “I’m doin’ time
Cause I’m willing to break laws but I won’t commit no crime.”
If there’s more to making choices than luck and happenstance,
I hope I do it right next time I get the chance.
This city seems so cold, and it isn’t just the wind.
I would be easy to say, “I’m here because I sinned.”
I’m here because someday someone will need a ride
And I’ll throw away my drink and say, “The coach awaits outside.”

Listening to this album on a loop day after day on the way to and from work built me up for the move to Tampa. I wonder if it works in reverse?

The Lesser of Two Evils

I was talking with my friend Mike recently, and we hit the topic of politics. I said that I was voting for Kerry because, while I despise the ‘two-party system’ we have, I feel that Bush is a bad President and needs to be removed. Mike is voting for the Libertarian candidate; because, while voting for Kerry is the Lesser of Two Evils, that would still be voting for evil.

Unfortunately, there is a difference between Theory and Practice. While I would ideally vote Libertarian I believe that in Practice that vote would be wasted. At this time, there are simply not enough Libertarian votes to win an election, and my vote will not breed other votes. If my party has no possible chance of winning then my vote will not affect the outcome of the election. So, in Practice, I will continue to espouse Libertarian principles in order to spread awareness of a worthy third party and I will vote for Kerry because Bush must go. I’m going to vote for the lesser of two Evils because in this particular battle Good doesn’t have a chance in Hell of winning.

If one really wants to avoid a choice of the lesser of two evils, then you must positively act to make that third option a reality. Simply casting a vote for a third party on Election Day is a token gesture. It’s like lottery tickets: a way of appeasing the masses who want to be rich but who don’t want to work for it. The people who really want that third option to become a reality are out working for change.

Yes, I’m voting for the Lesser of Two Evils; but I honestly believe that in doing so I have a better chance of removing the Greater of Two Evils.

Why now?

I registered my domain on April 15th 1995. That was the same day that I opened an account with Best Internet in Mountain View California. For $25 a month I had unlimited dialup PPP, which was only available from a small handful of ISPs at the time, and 25 Megs of webspace with 200 Megs of bandwidth per day. Oh, what plans I had for that webspace… Just plans though, for between my day job, my multiple relationships, and my wanderlust I never found time to put up anything interesting. I finally started posting content in 1996 while I was ‘bumming’ around Florida working at renaissance faires. I kept a running diary of where I was, what I was doing, and where I planned to be. In mid 1996 I moved back to San Francisco to begin my ‘career’ as a ‘web programmer’, and I found the time and inclination to finally build a real website. I posted excerpts from my journals (which for some reason semed to get me emails from angsty teenage girls), pictures, and notes about life. When my relationship with Thora dissolved (OK, every time my relationship with Thora dissolved!) I used my website to vent my feelings; and, knowing that she read my site, try to bridge the understanding gap. Well, that’s what I told myself. One day I realized that I didn’t think Understanding was possible, and that quite a lot of what I had been posting had been more hurtful than useful. I used to write when I was in pain, and somewhere that had morphed into writing to cause pain. That was so uncool. I didn’t like realizing that I had taken one of my creative outlets (Writing, not the web site) and tried to use it to hurt someone. On that day I took down my journals, especially my relationship posts, and I haven’t done anything major with my site since then besides change the home page graphic.

So, that’s why I haven’t been writing to my site. “Haven’t been.” Past tense.

The title of this post is ‘Why now?”. Present tense.

It has been over four years since I stopped writing to my site. The habit of not writing remained, even though the reasons had pretty much faded. Kind of like my having kept my long hair long after it ceased to be a symbol for me. One of my GFs is a Live Journal junkie, and I’ve been turning my nose at it for quite a while. Half my reason has been technical: I don’t like hosting my content on a server owned by someone else. The other half is that I have been subconsciously associating daily life posting forums with hurtful acts. Oddly enough, it was watching several people I knew, and once hung out with, desperatly trying to hurt each other as frequently and publicly as possible on LJ that brought about my own self realization. Yes, people do use such forums to hurt other people; but I had gone that route years ago and realized that it did not suit me. Web postings do not an asshole make. Avoid the assholes, not the creative urges.

That sill left the technical issue. I had one of my curiosity urges earlier tonight, and I did a google search to see if anyone interesting is linking to my website. One of the links is the blog of my friend Paul Lambert. Always curious as to what software friends choose for this sort of thing, I followed the link at the bottom of the page that lead to the WordPress site. I read about two paragraphs before Nancy, Melanie and I headed out to dinner.

Then came the pain. Really, I hardly ever find time to write when I’m happy. We came home from dinner, popped in Finding Nemo. A little while later Bass came home with Beth, and somewhere in the course of talking and hanging out I decided to feed the fish tanks. First the crab, then a few prawns in the passive tank, and then some silversides in the aggressive tank. Almost immediatly the eel was out, and taking fish from my fingers. Everyone was eagerly plucking fish from my grasp, except Puff Puff. Bass spotted him in the back of the tank, and I immediatly realized why he wasn’t eating. Only the living eat. Oddly, he looked like he had died in his sleep. Sitting on the bottom, eyes not milked over, coloring jut a bit darker than usual. Just sitting on the bottom, and not responding to food. For Puff Puff, that is dead. He was eating well yesterday, I just did a water change last week, and all the other fish seem hungry as ever. I’ll never know why he died. That really bugs me.

Fish dying is part of owning tanks. Usually I have a clue though. A few weeks ago I bought Nancy a tiny clown trigger. He was too small to go in the aggressive tank; being half the size of the damsels he was likely to become eel food. I saw him once after I put him in the tank. He came out during a feeding, but I never saw him eat. Not good behavior for a trigger. I never saw him again. I assume he is dead. Maybe he swam into one of the lower caves and the pistol shrimp got him. Or, maybe the octopus is still alive and hungry?

I killed a lionfish by training him to eat dead food. Lionfish are nororious for only eating live food. I started with the little swimming legs from the tails of shrimp, and I slowly worked him up until he would eat bits of shrimp tail. I thought I had accomplished something. Then I was trying to give a fair sized chumk of shrimp to Puff Puff, and the lionfish darted in and ate it. He blocked his digestive tract by eating something too big, and he died a few days later.

Then there was the shrimp tail stupidity. One day I was chatting with an employee of Pet World, in the fish department, and he said he fed his tanks shrimp tails from the supermarket. Shrimp tails are frequently cheaper than frozen silversides, and I can get them twenty four hours a day. So, out of convenience, we started feeding our fish almost exclusivly shrimp tails. We very nearly killed our tank, and we stunted the growth of our huma trigger pretty badly. How? Why did European sailors get scurvey for lack of citrus fruit while at the same time Eskimos, who had never seen citrus fruit, did not? Use Google if you need to. (Update: People are using Google to try to find the answer to this question, but when they get here all they find is my snide “Go use Google”. So, I am going to help you a little and give you the answer: Eskimos eat, or use, every single part of what they kill; unlike Europeans who spoiled themselves just eating the muscle and avoiding the organs. Liver is the despised meat, and it doesn’t really keep well like salted muscle tissue; but it does contain Vitamin C. So, the Europeans on ships who ate dried and salted muscle cuts did not get the same meat derived Vitamin C that the Eskimos did from eating animal livers. Happy?) We switched diets, and until today everyone had been doing fantastic.

Then there was the great die-off. I was showing off the aggressive tank to some friends, and I shut the filter off while feeding the tank so I could keep the fish up front. Currents from the filter would push food to the back of the tank. I forgot to turn the tank back on that night. The next day I was working at home, but I never went into the living room. That was also my birthday, and my friend (at the time) Rhett took me to Bern’s Steak House for some very excellent scotch. When we got home I was ushered away from the living room, and told that the entire tank was dead. The stingray, who only came out for feedings. The puffer, who always ate until he looked pregnant. The eel, who preferred his food from the mouths of others; especially the stingray. They all died because I didn’t turn back on the pumps. I lost a lot of my passion for the tanks that night. But, I still have them, so I take care of them.

Puff Puff was the first ‘real fish’ we bought for that tank after re-cycling it from the die-off. He ws so tiny when we got him that he was lost in that tank. He grew, and grew, and grew, and I finally started seeing a personality in him. I haven’t wanted to see personalities in the latest fish. I didn’t want to feel that close to them. Well, I did. And he died. And I don’t know why. That’s the pain.

With the pain fresh on my mind I came back to my computer. I downloaded WordPress. I installed it. I started writing. I stopped dicking around with looking at various packages trying to find the best one. I don’t care at the moment whether this is the best technical solution to my desire to have an easy way to post content. I just needed something. Loading DreamWeaver and crating a web page, and then linking that page from my other pages… It is just too annoying when what I want to do is sit and vent about how I feel. I needed a tool, so I installed one; and now that it is there I’ll probably use it quite frequently. No more past tense in regards to my writing.

Tomorrow I’ll do a 25% water change. I’ll test the water. I’ll take out the filter and protein skimmer and make sure they are clean. I’ll do it becuase these are things that have to be done; but I don’t think I’ll be feeling any joy while maintaining the tanks for a while.

I use Amazon affiliate links in some of my posts. I think it is fair to say my writing is not influenced by the $0.40 I earned in 2022.