Oct. 14th, 2011 03:03 am
tablesaw: Charlie Crews, in a dark suit, rests his head on his left hand (That's Life)
I've been in my head too much, recently.

No, that's not it.

I haven't been letting enough of me out of my head, recently.

I'm going to try to force myself to do more journaling.

Also commenting. I tend to think that I shouldn't respond unless I have something substantive to say.

I need to remember that "thank you" and "I hope you feel better" are also substantive things to say.

So. Post before bed.

You know, I made this icon so that I would have something I could use when I talk about the show Life. I didn't expect it would be so necessary for my actual life.
tablesaw: -- (Real1)
Hello, Google Profiles Team Member, and others!

There's not a whole lot I can do to talk to you as you go through this appeal, so I'm making this public post as the first informational link on my appeal, to help you get some context about what's going on here.

See, I was suspended on August 3rd. I appealed and was summarily rejected, but you asked me to send an e-mail for further review. The ticket number for that appeal was apparently #845437331. I sent an e-mail on August 4th. A public copy is here: http://tablesaw.dreamwidth.org/484324.html. Over the weekend, I waited to see if you'd respond or simply let it fall into the black hole of non-responses. But something different happened. My account went from having failed its appeal to having never had an appeal. At least, that's what it looked like from my profile page. I'm not sure; it's possible that my profile was reinstated and then re-rejected before anyone could see it. But I'm a little concerned that my last appeal, and the carefully considered words I sent you have been wiped clean from the last time.

But before we dicsuss theory, let's get to the links, shall we?


Dreamwidth is essentially my current base of operations on the Internet, where I am Tablesaw. This is a social network, where I am connected to hundreds of people who know me as Tablesaw. As you can see, I have archives for this name going back to 2002. Of course, many of those earlier entries are actually transferred from the previous iteration of this blog.


It was at Livejournal that I started the blog in 2002, and started to be known as Tablesaw to a wider web audience. Again, as a social network, LiveJournal introduced me to many people whom I now associate with offline as Tablesaw.


Before that, I joined the National Puzzlers' League, an organization with over a century of experience using chosen names in "real life," as Tablesaw. Now, I know what you're thinking, Google Person. That website looks terrible and doesn't itself, vouch for my identity much. I'll admit, I don't use the website much either. But then, you've kind of placed yourself in a bind, asking me to prove things that happen in "real life" with links on the internet. You see, most of the NPL events happen off of the internet (where all of my friends call me Tablesaw), so the web presence is naturally still a bit sketchy. Of course, it's there where I met the woman who would become my fiancée as Tablesaw.


And before the NPL, I was on IFmud as Tablesaw. Again, an online space that translated into "real life" friends who call me Tablesaw. There was, for example, the time when a dozen or so of us got together and rented a house on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, something that we managed without ever having to use anything but the handles from the MUD.


I don't know if you can see my own posts on G+ while I'm suspended, because I know the technology is still new. The second link is a backup. This link tells the story of the history of being recoginzed as Tablesaw by a small company that you might have heard of called "Google." See, it's hard to document my seven years of using Tablesaw Tablesawsen on my Gmail account as a link, so the best I can do is to tell you about it and assume that you can look up the information on your own. As they say in the legal profession, the documents responsive to your request are already in your custody and control. I can't tell you how to look into the history of my e-mail account, or my web history account (which I've also used since it was brought online).


Though I can show you the place where I've been using a Google social service under the name Tablesaw for four years. (Though, of course, I can't leave comments on most of my friends' pages like I could last month, because they're on Google Plus, and I'm suspended.)


And a further assortment of links to places where I'm known by Tablesaw on line, and where I interact with people who call me Tablesaw offline. Some of those represent places I don't visit much anymore. In fact, one person I encircled was someone from one of those fora with whom I hadn't really had contact in years, and I was so glad that using the name Tablesaw on Google Plus allowed us to find each other. Of course, that connection's gone now.


Finally, one more post from Google Plus, where one of the people I meet with weekly tells someone mocking my name, in no uncertain terms, that Tablesaw's the name they know me by.

Ok, links done, let's talk about your policy.

See, as I mentioned in that letter I sent to you guys last week, despite suspending me a bunch of times and linking me to your progressively updated Names Policy, nobody's actually told me what it is that's wrong with my name.

I understand that you don't want my legal or government-recognized name. That's good, because I don't really want to give it to you. (Though it does raise the question of why you'd asked for a But you do want "the name your friends, family or co-workers usually call you", and I've already given it to you—you've had it for over seven years.

Let's back up. Because, to be honest, there's a problem with your "Common Name" request, which is that I don't have just one common name. I've really got two. One of them I listed as my main profile name (in fact, as I said, I listed it as my main profile name seven years ago), the other I've listed as a nickname under privacy lock. I'm assuming that you can see that, with Google Profile powers, but I'm not going to mention it in this post, because it is, still, an open letter.

You're not really clear on what the difference is between a "common name" and a "nickname" really is. As far as I can tell, my two common names are also nicknames (since neither is, obviously, the name that my local government rigorously identifies me as). Now, I can see how helpful it is to have that other name in my nickname field, locked down under security so that only people whom I choose can see it, but beyond that, I don't see what your problem is with which common name I've placed where.

There's lots of reasons I don't want my other common name up in the big fancy spot on my profile. One reason is that the other nickname is rather close to the name by which the government rigorously identifies me. As you should be aware by now, what with the My Name Is Me campaign and other e-mails I know you're getting, is that making a name like that public opens one up to a lot of different forms of danger. And a lot of that ties into the circumstances I have two common names in the first place. Many people I know are aware of both names, and which they use at any given time is their business (and can switch in the same conversation sometimes). But the people who know me as Tablesaw (which includes a lot of people like my family (Hi, mom!)) have something in common: they are the people with whom I am more willing to share information about my life. And the people who know me only by my other common name are people whom I want to know as little about me as possible.

In other words, the social network that revolves around me as Tablesaw is far more valuable than the one that revolves around me as my other common name. More valuable to me, personally and emotionally, and more valuable to you because I'll be active in sharing with them.

And of course, there's the simple fact that I was here with this name long before Google Plus. When I went to initiate this appeal, the dialogue box that now appears eager to usher in a new name, wiping away years of history informs me that the name I change to is going to be changed in all Google products. Really? When just a month ago, it was perfectly fine for me to use all (and boy, do I mean all) Google products as Tablesaw, now you tell me that name's no good?

Well, maybe you do.

But you know—I know there's a lot of entitlement issues going around with Google Plus—but I do feel, after all this time, that I do deserve to be told why my name's not good enough for you anymore, if for no other reason than so that I can decide if I can change it for you.

Ok. I think that's it.

I hope you read all this, because I guarantee you, someone's going to.

And you know what? Depending on when you read this in relation to when other people read this, you can probably keep going down this page to see a bunch of my friends, friends in "real life"—and I guess I didn't even get to the part where somehow, "offline" is "real life," as though everything that happens on the Internet is somehow fictional (because, really, if online isn't "real life," then what does that make a web-based company like Google?)—tell you how they call me Tablesaw offline too.

I don't know if it even matters anymore.

After seven years, I'm starting to figure out what the cost will be of moving me e-mail address, simply because you think my name's not good enough for you and you won't tell me why.

Okay, it's late and I'm getting maudlin about this.

Best of luck with all this, Google Profiles Team Member. If you've read this far down, you deserve it.

And hell, you know what, I'm going to turn off IP logging, on the off chance that you want to leave a message. Anons get screened, and I won't reveal if you ask me not to.

Bed now. For reals.

Tablesaw out.
tablesaw: Supervillain Frita Kahlo says, 'Dolor!' (Que Dolor!)
This has not been the greatest week, for various reasons. Some of those reasons are private and complicated. Some of them are not. Among the public and uncomplicated reasons, I went to work today without my cell phone. Or my keys. And I have no idea where the building manager is or when (or if) he'll be back. So I'm at Kinko's now. The "let's just spend some time in Hollywood" time has run into "uh, can I get in touch with someone to let me sleep somewhere?"

Among the private and complicated ones, well . . .

With various emotional ups and downs, it's pretty clear that I'm experiencing some general depression. And now that those emotional things are kind of settling, it's just out there in the open. Nothing major, but still annoying to deal with. Especially when all this stupid stuff happens.

So, just, generally, if you have a moment, I could kind of use people saying things to boost up my self-worth. I'm in the frame of mind where I don't immediately discount them, and they've been absurdly beneficial to me the last few days. They don't even need to be creative, just hearing good things from other people is kind of what I need at the moment.

That, and for my manager to finally be there when I walk back across the street.

ETA: I finally got in touch with my manager. Or rather, my manager's son, since the manager is apparently on vacation. So he graciously drove over and let me into the house. Time to numb my brain with TV.
tablesaw: A black woman and a white man hold each other on a park bench. Text reads "2004-2010." (Ojouchan)
I've created a new access list for me to talk about my emotions during my breakup. By default, most people with general access to this blog are on this list, with the exception of [livejournal.com profile] ojouchan and a few mutual friends that I would not feel comfortable venting to at all. You can visit the introductory post to see if you're on the filter.

This filter is not about "picking sides" in the breakup. It's mostly about keeping our emotional fallout sequestered from each other, so that we can move on healthily. But it's also about letting people decide how much they want to hear about that fallout.

In the process of creating the access list, I also renovated my friends lists on LJ and DW. There wasn't anything particularly drastic; most of the people who I removed were inactive journals. However, the undertaking was large enough that I very likely made mistakes.

If you want access (or want renewed access) to this blog or to the breakup filter, you can comment to this post. All responses are screened.
tablesaw: Run Away (to the ocean, to the country, to the mountains . . .) (Runaway)
I suppose it would happen that I lose internet access when I'm having an existential crisis. The internet is something I use to fend them off.

I've been making a fanmix for a Whedonland challenge, and that's meant digging deep into my music collection. And digging deep into my music collection has meant listening to music I haven't heard in a while. And listening to music I haven't heard in a while means feeling things I haven't felt in a while.

I've been flashing back to the feeling of the Tower Records at GW, the place where I browsed magazines and books, where I bought new music (that I still have), where I saw Suzanne Vega talk about meeting Lou Reed. just across the way there was an ice-cream place (was it a Coldstone's?) and an Au Bon Pain and a bar I never went to because I didn't turn 21 until I was at UCSB, and I remember it in flashes of how I felt that day, cold or wet or hot or tired or excited or scared or depressed or infatuated or proud.

Or I'll remember standing in the Albany airport, waiting for [livejournal.com profile] isako to give me a ride to meet [livejournal.com profile] ojouchan for the second time, or the same airport later, when my mom called to tell me that my grandmother had died while I was away.

And every flash is different. It impresses upon me that I never really know who I am, because I'm always changing. I don't know who I am right now.

In a lot of ways, I'm afraid of the past more than the future. The past can do as much damage as the future, but unlike the future, it can't be changed. And every year, there's just so much more of it: more pain, more joy, more laughter, more momentum, more power.

So I like to move forward, focusing on the short term, and leaving anything that's fallen out of my view deep in the past, because once I let it drop, it might not be something that's mine. It's something that belonged to a past me.

If I had the internet on right now, I'd go back and look at my posts. But I can tell, right now, that this is the kind of thing I'd be willing to post years ago, but haven't posted much recently. I'm only doing it now because I'm scared, and I can't sleep, and the only way I can reach out right now is with the phone and everyone I know is (or is probably) asleep. But then, back then, I was a lot more lonely, too, I guess. I've been feeling so many things, but haven't wanted to say them, or write them, and there's been so much to do with friends and family and work and all.

I don't know what's going to change. I do know that I'm more regularly social right now than I've been since college, with two gaming groups, one regular group TV-watching, a close friend at work, and dating with [livejournal.com profile] ojouchan. And I know it's going to be a hard time sleeping tonight.

But even now, I'm feeling the relief this blog used to bring, easing the pressure of loneliness and melancholy.

Also, I'm getting a wisdom tooth pulled tomorrow. That's not really much compared to the memories making me revaluate my concept of identity, but it's also not helping me get to sleep either.

(finished 2:12 a.m.)

Internet is back, the result of my modem and router being finicky about the order they got turned on. Off to the dentist now,and I'll look for and add the links I was thinking of when I get back.


Oct. 4th, 2009 12:46 pm
tablesaw: Run Away (to the ocean, to the country, to the mountains . . .) (Runaway)
I've been having the recurring feeling, for the past two weeks, that I can't get anything right.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
I don't have a twitter account, though, so I'll have to put it here.

Traffic is being diverted off of the 110 in the middle of downtown because of a person who is attempting—or (let's hope not) has— committed suicide off of the bridge at Wilshire. Avoiding the 4-level interchange (the 101 is slammed too) is a good idea for any L.A. drivers. Prayers are good for just about anybody.

This news report has been brought to you by the picture-window view of downtown by my desk.

ETA 1: There seem to be a lot more sirens out today, and traffic's still being diverted. I hope everything's ok.

ETA 2 (13:25 Pacific): First coverage I could find. At least the airbags are down.

ETA 3 (14:21 Pacific): The person has been taken into custody, and the streets are clear again.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
I thought I should mention this. Technically, it happened after the convention, but anyway . . .

I get to the airport and have to rush through security to get into a tiny tiny gate that only has two flights. I find myself seated next to a very cute young woman solving a crossword. So I test the waters, "Is the crossword any good?" "No," she responds, "it's way too easy."


I mention that I was at the NPL convention. She said she'd heard about it from a local newspaper. It was really interesting, she thought, though she didn't attend. I told her about some of the events. We chatted about how Boston has many people who are unafraid to be smart. We touched upon the MIT Mystery Hunt. Then our 5:30 flight was called.

Except that she was on a different 5:30 flight leaving from the gate next door to mine.

One could argue that, after having a wonderful week in Boston, it would have been too much to ask to be on a plane with another cute and smart Bostonian. But I won't argue that. I argue that it was Boston taking its revenge on me for not being able to dump frozen water on my head.

Stupid Boston. Stupid city full of smart people.


Mar. 25th, 2004 01:59 am
tablesaw: "Tablesaw Basics" (Manual)
I've been in a very noncreative mood recently. Not a mood for novels or journals; a mood for television and videogames. Barely in a mood for music; more in a mood for news. (In what may or may not be unrelated news, music by Tori Amos and Bjork scared me today.) I need some real stimulation. I need someone to massage my mind. Or my body, actually. Both, preferably.

There's a puzzle party this weekend, which hopefully will perk me up. And speaking of puzzles and perking up, I must now begin my plans to return to Boston/Cambridge for the 2004 NPL Convention. The convention proper is July 8-11, but the convention improper is apparently going to begin as early as July 3. (This unofficial program will undoubtedly be aided by the high number of NPL members already in the area. I'd give figures, but my directory is at home.) I'm interested to see what gets whipped up before the con, since I'm going to be helping to do that sort of unofficial program next year, when the convention is held in Los Angeles. On the other hand, I'm not sure if I want to dedicate so much resources (money, vacation time). On the other other hand, I've been noticing that, even outside of the NPL, I have started knowing more and more people in Boston, and it might be fun to get a chance to hang out with them before my time is monopolized by the NPL.

Does anyone living in or near Boston have any input on that week before?

ThuNYTX: 11. Lots of fun. ThuLATX: 8.


Jan. 20th, 2004 10:54 pm
tablesaw: -- (Default)
I'm more or less caught up with the Friends page, except I was skimming, so I don't really know wnything that happened to you all in the last few days.

I'll write some thoughts about the weekend, but . . . there was a lot of bleh.

But now I'm home. ANd warmth is in the air.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Every time I see an ad for Timeline, I think about how much better it would be if it were a movie version of Blue Company [Link changed 1/8/11. Original link: "http://www.tank20.com/blue/flash.html"].

Feeling better. Getting stuff done . . .


Oct. 13th, 2003 10:32 am
tablesaw: Katsuhiko Jinnai, from El Hazard (Jinnai)
I've been trying to write a letter to Ex, but it's not happening. Well, something's happening, but it's not the letter I'm supposed to write. Ex got married last week, and I have yet to say anything about it. The problem is that every time I set down something, I start pouring out my own issues, which isn't the point. And trying to cut all of that out leaves me with something so stiff and impersonal that it's almost and insult. Not what I want to say at all.

(For those just joining us, here's some background for my relationship with Ex and my relationship with Ex after my relationship with Ex: 3/17/2002, 6/22/2002, 9/19/2002 and possibly some other entries I can't find.)

Ex and I became close friends in Washington, D.C, where we attended one year of college together. At the end of that year, we both moved to different colleges, but we kept in close contact, thanks largely to her weekend job as a secretary at a business with a liberal toll-free-phone-line policy. Eventually, on a visit to LA, we started dating, and tried to continue it long-distance off and on for a while.

Breaking up with Ex is directly tied in to my ultimate crash at the end of a very long slide into the depths of depression. I can clearly trace back my depression to my Sophomore year in high school, but I'd always managed, generally, to keep things more or less balanced. Leaving school cut me loose in many ways, and I just got very, very bad. Depression severely warped my perception of reality in the months after I graduated from college, and I alienated my friends and family until I was pinning a lot of my life on my relationship with Ex. That relationship was falling apart because, well, I was falling apart; but I couldn't see/accept it. Eventually, on a long-before-scheduled trip to her home town where she finally, actually, firmly broke up with me, I had a complete breakdown.

Since then, I've been able to put my mind back together to a certain extent, though it's still a journey. Anyway, I need to get back to Ex.

At the end of our "relationship," Ex started seeing someone, whom we will call Xi (because I like saying "Ksaie!"). Considering what I've told you above, and even guessing at my mental state at the time, you can imagine that my view of Xi wasn't very pretty, or very accurate. A lot of my residual rage from that time is directed at him.

If you've looked at my "research" posts, you'll know that Ex and I have been in touch with each other for about a year now, through web journals. I guess this may be a new and interesting use of the Internet, but it's been good for me. I've gotten used to Ex being in my thoughts in new situations, ones that don't involve me being a ranting madman. But with this wedding, I realize that I haven't quite gotten closure on that time in my life. I've moved on, but there's still a little bit open.

I feel like I need to see her again, to solidify the communication we've had since the break up, to know that it's real, to have something slightly more like what we had before things got strange, back when we were friends who could talk for hours about art, philosophy, anime, and anything else.

Also, I need to meet Xi again. No, not again. I don't really think that first time counted. I think I'm better off assuming that I never met Xi and that what I remember from meeting him was just an elaborate imagining from my brain which bears no resemblance to reality. Ex really only talks about Xi tangentially in her journal, so that doesn't really give me a whole lot to go on. I feel like I need some reality to counteract the nightmare of three years ago, so that I can actually see why my friend is marrying him.

Wow. Three years. It's been a long time. I haven't really caught up with that part of my life. It feels more like a year ago. So much wasted space.

I'm still iffy on the letter, so here it is. Any and all suggestions are appreciated before I send this out: Read more... )
tablesaw: -- (Default)
September's gone already. The crushing heat is over. The forest fires have stopped. My house is a year old. School is very much happening again. There's less and less sunlight to be in. The fog sits in the canyons every morning. And the California flora gets guilty about staying alive while its relatives across the country grow withery.

How did it get so late so soon?
It's night before it's afternoon.
December's here before it's June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?
— Dr. Seuss


Sep. 9th, 2003 02:05 pm
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Recently, someone mentioned how she feels "loserish" when staying home on a Saturday night doing nothing. I responded:
See, I feel that bit of shame and loserishness on Sunday night (now Tuesday morning) when it's the very end of the weekend and I realize that I haven't done anything. Of course, while I'm actually staying home doing nothing, I usually feel great. Hooray for quiet!
I wrote that at work, before my weekend began. Now it's Tuesday morning, and those words have hit me like a deadly boomerang of angst.

I spent this weekend reading. And reading and reading. When I got home on Sunday morning, I opened the windows and the door and took off my shoes and lay on my couch and felt good. When my mother called to update me on things and ask me about things, I told her that I was reading with my shoes off. I went to bed late and woke up and read. I stayed up late reading, and then I slept in and woke up and read some more. I did go out and get some exercise, but then I came back home and read some more more, although I shook things up a bit by reading things on the Internet, not bound in books. And now it's late on Tuesday and I'm suddenly realizing that the reason I feel a bit odd is because all of the diverse voices I've surrounded myself with over the past forty-eight hours have been in my own head.

And the quiet is not currently hurray-worthy.

There was something I did besides read, this morning. I ran through my cd collection looking for tracks to sing along to. I sang loud and proud in my carriage house at four o'clock in the morning. And it filled me with the same intoxicating joy as the reading.

What's going on inside me is complex, and I can't seem to express what it is without using words like roiling. I can't bring myself to use those words, right now, so we'll move on. The point is that my mouth feels rusted, and the pressure of its disuse over this weekend is worrying.

And I should go to bed now, so I can get up and watch the new episode of MI-5 (Apparently it has Dr. Bashir in it), but something me going. And the main reason I'm writing this entry is because, if I don't I'll probably go back to reading, and then there'll be no end to it.

And strange things are happening. There's drama on LJ, there's still watermelon in my fridge, and I'm going to get an electronic monkey on my shoulder because I can solve cryptics.

It's been a strange weekend.

It will continue to be one until I go to bed.

It will continue to be one as I prolong this entry.

I swallow my Prozac (actually fluoxetine) and think about where I was three years ago. I don't get very far, because everything from then is pretty scrambled, but thinking about it reminds how odd it is that I enjoy my life. Even when I wake up and think my life is boring or tired or sad, I really like it. Before, even when I liked my life I hated it; now, even when I hate my life, I love it.

It's now the time of day when every extra minute I keep my eyes open will be felt by me at work later on. The clocks around me tick upwards passive-aggressively (well, only the analogue alarm clock ticks, the other silently change) and I try to ignore them while I add parentheticals to my writing.

I'm trying to work it out of me. I'm trying to work out everything I took in, but there's not enough time, and it's not working because through it all my mouth stays closed and my voice stays mute and I don't have an ending to this weekend. I need an ending to this weekend, something other than my time for today's crossword puzzle, which is apparently all I have. I need someone to sing me to sleep tonight, and someone to sing to sleep before I tiptoe out the door to read and proofread safe, soulless things.

TueNYTX: 7.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
So, what made me sad today?

As I was cleaning up, I found a double word square that I had quickly written for Wendy.

Yes, I'm a geek.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
These entries that involve Wendy are locked for two reasons. One is that there is at least one person on LJ who is obsessed with her and was able to cryptically deduce that I was seeing her. The other is that she doesn't want to hear about it on my journal (which she reads), and she has asked that I screen any such statements from her friends, many of whom I now read and now read me.

Anyway, I've had That Dog's Retreat from the Sun in my CD player for about a week, ever since [livejournal.com profile] pbmath mentioned it in a comment. Anyway, it's had a strong hold on me ever since, and I haven't been able to get it out of my stereo or my head. And it's not surprising, since the album's themes play upon my own current issues: infatuation, physical distance, miscommunication, emotional distance, and violins. It's also very upbeat and singable.

So, interested in getting inside my head? Here's some of what I'm thinking about, in lyric form:

Retreat from the Tablesaw )

And that, until further notice is my soundtrack.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
The other day, I had a sudden overwhelming urge to read "Judas Danced" by Brian Aldiss. I knew which book it was in, SF: Authors' Choice. After my fever for this chaotic tale was abated, I noticed something odd. Scribbled on the inside of the paperback cover, I found the following, in pencil and in my hand:
Don't do what I did . . .
You keep saying,
It's OK, I can live with that
It's OK, I can live with that
Then you go: "It's too much
I can't live with any of it
You have to change everything."
I haven't a clue what it means or why it's there. I don't even know if the words are mine or if I heard someone else say them. All I know is that it was when I had this book out, which was during the last two years of college? It's very likely that I copied this down during my "Race, Gender and Performance" class with Catherine Cole [Archive link, 10/26/10], since I used another story in the book, "Day Million" [dead link changed, 10/26/10] by Frederik Pohl as the source for my final project in that class. Does anyone recognize this fragment at all?

SatNYTX: 13:45. Very fast, but there was one crossing of words I didn't know.

(LJ note: The update page doesn't seem to allow me to select a userpic right now. Hope that gets fixed.) (Update: It's back.)


Jun. 23rd, 2003 06:33 pm
tablesaw: -- (Default)
The funeral is over, and perhaps, things can become something approaching normal again. I don't have high hopes that I'll be able to get my sleeping re-regulated by tomorrow for work, though. There's a lot of it that I really don't want to talk about, though. It was hard, since, more than sadness, I was feeling rage. It puts one into a more awkward position in large uncomfortable groups. When one is sad, then if one breaks down, there are tears, perhaps a swaying of legs, and people to support one. When one is angry, then if one cracks, blunt objects come into contact with things or persons from which the should be kept away.

Also, I heard from Will Shortz at the New York Times passing on my crossword puzzle. A while back, Paula Vogel visited UCSB, and I sat in on a miniclass she taught for the playwriting classes. (At the time, I wasn't yet enrolled in the classes.) Rather than delve into the minutiae of craft, she spent a great deal of time instructing us on How to Read Rejection Letters. She had several signs and tricks, the most memorable (and most useless on email) was to wet the paper of the letter (possibly by licking your thumb and smudging) to see if the signature was signed or Xeroxed. Anyway, it's a very helpful skill. Using it, I am heartened by Shortz's note: "The theme, I think, isn't really a New York Times sort of subject. Something entirely pop culture-related like this would probably be better suited for a publication with a younger audience, like Games magazine." How do I read this? that the quality is up to par (which was a bigger anxiety for me), but the subject matter makes it an inappropriate for the audience. Vogel was very big on this, understanding from a rejection letter when the editor (or artistic director) thinks your work is bad and when he or she thinks it's good or interesting or promising but can't select it for other reasons. I'll probably send this on to Games and Kappa (Games' parent) and start working on the next one.

Onward and upward.
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I'm feeling alone, not lonely. Asocial, not antisocial. Teetering on the edge of feeling depressed. I don't feel like dealing with people today.

Earlier, I woke up and dragged a chair into my yard to read. The sun was setting and a cool breeze was ablowin' down Sepulveda and through the trees that shade my carriage house. I need to do this more often; only my aversion to wearing pants in the mornings prevents me. The light faded too quickly, though.

Today I feel like basking in the sun with my solitude. When I was younger, I used to tell my parents I was going for a walk, or a bike ride, and be gone. Sometimes I'd bring a book or a notebook, but usually, I'd just go out until I was tired. In the west valley, the hills are filled with orange rock and housing developments and quiet and the yellow orange light of the sun on the edge of America falling behind those same hills to dive in the ocean, foam and gloam. Getting out was a great way of getting out anything inside me that was just too much. After a few hours of wandering through the concrete steppes, I'd be little more than tired, and glad to set my body down in a comfortable chair indoors while the light moved from outside to in. The next day would be new, and I would deal with what it brought.

But today, tonight, the light is already in, and there's nothing outside but darkness all around, which pushes things inside instead of drawing them out.

I don't feel like talking. I don't feel like walking. I don't feel like dealing with you. I don't feel like reading or bleeding or heeding advice, I don't care if it's true. So hold off your questions and feel-good suggestions. There's nothing that, now, seems appealing. It's not that I'm callous. I don't wish you malice. It's just that I don't feel like feeling.
tablesaw: Tablesaw (Thin Manual)

Today, I was stopped by a policeman on foot, a few yards from the building where I work, who demanded to see my ID badge before letting me into my building. I learned later that there was (or they suspected there was) a man with a gun in a nearby building, which circumstance necessitated a police lockdown.

Yesterday, from the other side of the wide, dusty, white van in front of me, someone's fender exploded (or so it seemed from my obscured position), spreading itself and various other bits of hood and wheel across the five lanes. I drove around, without the time to look.

A week ago, a friend rear-ended another car, after he let his insurance lapse. About this time, his mother left town to attend the funeral of a relative.

And I'm mildly concerned, because I have to dispose of a traffic citation.

* * * * *

In "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" [broken link fixed, 9/29/10], Ursula K. LeGuin poses a society that is a Utopia beyond Utopia, at the cost of the inhumanity beyond inhumanity perpetrated upon a single scapegoat. In the past week, I've been casting it in terms of a single person's psyche.

Accomplished people stereotypically have "demons," personal traumas that are, somehow, at the root of their creation. I can understand this, personally. In the past, I had my own "demon," a sort of psychogenic tapeworm, that demanded accomplishment for its own sake. "Exorcising demons" is a wonderful conceit, but I find the tapeworm metaphor to be more accurate. One feeds it and feeds it and feeds it, and the parasite expands, while the food provides less sustenance to feeder.

I used to have an ambition to become famous, accomplished, respected by all. To make it to The Top. I don't quite know what I would have done there, but I definitely needed to get there. In many spheres (class, creation, love life), I constantly needed to do more and prove more, usually at the expense of more of my time, energy, health, etc. But I got quite a lot of things done.

* * * * *

And so, Omelas, considered not societally, but personally. Do people accede to locking away a part of themselves into the dark, denying it care and love, to try to create a fuel for their remainder? I think that many do, even those who never come close to accomplishment.

I'm at a moment of conflict. I am aware that I have "done" very little in the three years since I graduated college. But I feel happier than I ever have for that nothing. Creation is hard and without an ever unsatiable parasite driving me, it's hard to find the energy. If I will be happy whether I write or whether I read, why not read? There is still so much to be read, and I'm still happy.

Perhaps I feel that the purpose of life can't be "to be happy." That's too simple. At a quarter of a century old, I am happy, and that happiness is not a struggle.

And somehow, I long for that tapeworm or another or anything or anyone to answer the question: "What next?"

* * * * *

They go on. They leave Omelas, they walk ahead into the darkness, and they do not come back. The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible that it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.
— Ursula K. LeGuin, "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas"


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