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The Page of Swords

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My Thoughts on Sept. 11th 2001 [03 Oct 2001|11:57pm]
[ mood | anxious ]

Good evening,

It has been a very long time since I last posted. Much of the delay coincided with the last few weeks' of my girlfriends' presence in AZ, but the last three weeks I took off from LJ entirely, while I gathered my thoughts, reined in my anger, and made certain that events did not overtake me.

Make no mistake; I am grateful that my finger is not on the Big Red Switch of Thermonuclear Devestation. Because I would have pushed it at roughly 10:30 AM, EST, with the collapse of the second Trade Center Tower. I don't think I would have stopped until I knew that every square mile between Isreal and India was a smoking glowing hole in the ground.

That would have been wrong.

I don't know that I would have cared.

I kept my silence, and prayed that New York and Washington DC, as horrible as the events were, were the end. As the airports reopened, and curbside checkin returned across the nation, I have kept silence. Now, and only now, is it time to speak.

[Ed. Note: This entry was edited 8Oct01. I made a brown-paper-bag error, mistakenly typing "Pakistan" when I had meant "Palestine", in the first sentence of the following paragraph. The error was not one of my head, but of my fingers. I swear I know the difference between those two countries. Honest.]

The hopes of the Palestinian people for an autonomous nation are probably now futile. I find myself growing tired of listening to Arafat's platitudes while his own organization is taking potshots at Isreali women. It stuns me that Isreal has remained restrained in terms of military response; They could very easily have taken back Palestinian territory and America wouldn't have blinked.

I find Pakistan's recent cooperation with American policy to be suspect, if not actually disingenuous. Pakistani Muslims regularly start shooting matches with India over the Kashmir province. Pakistan is a known violator of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Protocols. It is also one of the three nations to recognize the Taliban militia as the proper government of Afghanistan. The Pakistani government has never given two sh*ts about our position, but when the Whuppin' of the Century is coming, they were the first ones to roll over. Our eyes, as a nation, must remain focused firmly on Pakistan, now and in the future; he who capitulates once will capitulate again.

Saudi Arabia needs to be watched as well. Osama bin Laden is Saudi-born, from a Saudi family, and it is an openly-known secret that he visits his family in Saudi Arabia on a regular basis, most recently six weeks ago to be at his sister's wedding. We have wanted bin Laden's head on a pike for over four years now, but have our Saudi allies ever stopped his movements? Have they ever made the first effort to even *slow* his money supply? Has the Saudi government even made the most general efforts to ensure that their citizens were not sending money to the world's most wanted criminal? No. Never. None.

Vincente Fox, to his credit, knows when to shut the f*ck up. I haven't heard a peep out of him about his plan to unilaterally open the US-Mexican border to immigration, legal and illegal.

If he has good sense, he'll keep it that way for a Good Long Time.

I find the sudden rash of support for our President disheartening. The *best* that can be said is that his VP, Secretary of State, and Secretary of Defence are Good Men In A Storm, and will tell Dubya to stick to the script, and not try to think and talk at the same time. However, that is not the popular chant of the day. A full 91% of the nation support him, and nearly 51% feel that it is unpatriotic to protest military action, according to a recent USA Today poll conducted by the AP. (I got that in this Monday's paper. I don't know the date, but today is Thursday.) Support for broader police powers in the hands of the FBI is widespread.

That, ladies and gents, frightens me no end.

The FBI is not our friend. Ever since the days of J Edgar Hoover, the FBI has used their investigative powers to spy on those whom the Powers That Be found convenient to spy on. It is documented that they had extensive files regarding nearly every pop-culture icon from the 1920's into the 1970's, and there is no reason to believe that they suddenly stopped. With the Carnivore system in place (Guess what, class. The FBI is reading your email. Right now. No, no search warrant necessary. Search warrants are only required if they intend to introduce the evidence found in court. If they just want to harrass you, and invade your privacy, they have that priveledge. Ain't America grand?), they have the technical capability to monitor every single communication *everywhere* in the USA. That includes data traveling over US-owned servers. That includes data traveling over US-owned satellites. (Satellites are not monitored by Carnivore, but rather Eschelon) It also includes data traveling in or through Canada, Britain, and just about every NATO member nation.

In short, if you want to have any privacy at all anymore, you'll have to do what bin Laden does. Talk only to people you trust, and only in person. Don't use emails. Don't use the phones. Stay either in the Middle of Nowhere, or the center of the city.

If I sound like one of the paranoid "Big Brother is Watching" types, it's because I am. I see the legislation that gets introduced. I see the advances in technology, having been on both sides of the cryptography game. I pay attention to what the goverment is doing, becuase vigilance is the cost of freedom. I intend, come Hell or high water, to die free. I hope that you who read this intend the same.

Until next time, be well friends.

-The Page of Swords

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Yet another Return From Absence [30 Aug 2001|11:09pm]
This time, it was due to the beginning of ASU classes. Right now I'm taking a full load, including Calc II, Principles of Software Engineering, Swedish, and Karate.

It keeps me very busy, and the little time I have to myself, I instead spend with Megara. She's a lot easier to cuddle with than the compy, y'know? ;-)

After much effort and training, I have gotten to the final level of Brood War. I even got the Dark Origin level. That was fun. I think I'll go back to it, now.

Later, everyone.

-The Page of Swords
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Return from Absence [15 Aug 2001|04:27pm]
[ mood | irritated ]

Good afternoon, everyone.

I have been on Enforced Net-Deprivation since my last post. I had to mothball the compy so that things could proceed with the moving-in of Papa.

That has gone well, with only a couple of short catches. Life is, if not good, then no worse than not-bad.

I'm thinking about taking fighter practice again tonight. I've been two weeks away, and I can feel the slowness settle in over me. It is not a pleasant sensation.

I had better address some issues that people have been bugging me about.

Garrett: Don't worry about my quietness the other day. I was just pissed I had to return home before 7pm. I don't expect the brainwashed minions of Gates to understand the subtle advantages of MacOS, such as continuous uptime, ease of use and configuration, and the utter lack of anything M$. Besides, I wouldn't want fellows like you using a Mac anyways: Makes the rest of us look bad, don't'cha know. ;-)

Liz: Crap. Crap Crap Crap. I wanted to help out today. I don't know how the hell it managed to be that I didn't end up in a place to help you. That annoys me deeply; after your having helped out Dell, etc., it saddened me that no one was there to help you. Crap.

I'm definately taking fighter practice. I need it. Yesterday was quite the experience.

Be well, friends.

-The Page of Swords

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Back! Pheel Tha Pheer! [07 Aug 2001|12:22am]
[ mood | pessimistic ]

Okay, so I've been back since Saturday night. It's been a busy couple of days. But all in good time.

The vacation was luxurious. We came and went as we pleased, traveling nearly the length of California, from the Avenue of the Giants in Mendicino Cnty. (practically Oregon) south to Pasadena (Just Say No to LA), then back along I-10 to Phoenix. Megara and I traded driving duties back and forth across the way, with only one incident along the trip (Combination of my stupidity and that of the person in front of me, whose brake lights were less-than-visible. Thank the Gods that the brakes on Megara's car are good. I thought for a second the car behind me had hit us, and we all pulled over to look everything over and reassure each other that everything was alright. The folks behind us stopped cleanly, without hitting us, and pulled over to make sure we were alright. After a quick chat, we were back on our way. I let her drive.).

Upon returning to Phoenix, we got Megara unpacked and back into her parents' house. I was invited to stay for dinner, and was asked to include Mom in that invitation. Mom came, and we had a wonderful dinner, and a great conversation afterwards. We stayed up till 10, then we had to go home so that we could sleep and recover.

Being away from Megara, after the week of 24-7 contact, was exquisitely painful. Even phone calls each of the last two days hasn't been enough to fill the gaping hole in my life.

The last two days, I have been working on clearing out the (former) storage room of the house, as my maternal grandfather will be joining us in the household. I'm not quite sure what to think. I love him, but I'm not sure about having another person in the house, especially one who requires as much medical attention as Papa does. Selfish? Probably. I enjoyed visiting him in the nursing home though; I went every other day, every third at the least. He is in a lot of pain, and gets (understandably) onery, though. I'm not sure I want to put myself in the way of that in a way that I cannot escape. Mom is trying to convince me that everything will work out for the best this way; I just don't know what to think. We'll see how this works out tomorrow, when he arrives from the nursing facility. I sense a Big Problem though, even if I can't describe what it is just yet.

Be well, friends. I may need you soon.

-the Page of Swords

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FMH [24 Jul 2001|05:30pm]
So close, and yet so far.
Damn cones.
Stupid fscking driving tests.
I wonder how Megara puts up with me. It must take a lot of effort, Gods bless her.
-The Page of Swords
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4 Days [23 Jul 2001|05:41pm]
[ mood | excited ]

Yep. Four days left until I go to her. I am eager: I had ached, longed, missed, panged, and just about every other such adjective in the Scrabble (tm) Dictionary, for the last two and a half months, and now I'm just plain ol' eager.

The weekend was hell, though. I had nothing to do at all, except sit and meditate over my D&D stuff. Gah. It was awful. Even the workouts weren't enough to take my mind off of things.

Things seem to be settling out nicely, though. Projects are completing in enough time to be safe, and the ones that aren't done now, will be ere I leave, if I have to spend all week forcing them into place. I don't have anything else to be doing, anyways.

I may have made a mistake teaching Mom how to use a shillelagh. Now she has both the means to thwap those who desperately deserve it, and the willingness. Thank the Gods she can't run too fast, or there would be a lot of injured Stupid People.

My swordwork has made another jump up; as of last week I could kill a spearman with a single sword over half the time, and a third of the time when if the spearman had backup. Unfortunately, about half of those have been double-kills -- I need to bring that proportion down.

OTOH, my ritualwork has declined. Part of that is the distractions that come from being so long apart from my Love, but another part of that has been the long enforced vacation. Maybe things will settle out enough in the next few months that I can begin practices more involved than simple awareness modifications.

Until next time, be well, my friends.

-The Page of Swords

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The Squishy Sound [18 Jul 2001|01:32am]
[ mood | exhausted ]

Ah, how I love it.

No friends, I'm not talking about the squishy sounds that come from various enjoyable distracting activities, oh no.

I'm talking about the squishy sounds that come from banging one's head against the wall N+1 times in a single day, as N goes to infinity.

Todays' squishiness was generated by a hunt for Ovid's Amores, translated of course, as my education is deficient and I cannot read it in the original Latin.

Did you know that there are no less than 7 distinct versions online of the Metamorphoses, also by Ovid, but that not a single webified version of the Amores exists that can be found by any search engine? It's true...

Ah well. Perhaps tomorrow's quest will bring better results. Hey, it could happen.

I even tried thwapping the local mall's bookstores, once I realized that the websearch wasn't working out so well. That was an even greater failure than the Web: not even a single collection of Ovid in the entire place. Gah. At least the time was well-spent with a good friend. That is something that makes almost everything else tolerable.

Thank you Liz.

And thank you again, Liz, for making sure that I wrote today. This has been such a long, bizarre day that I hardly recall the conversation I had with my Love, though it was only this morning.

I miss her.

9 days left.

Gods save me.

-the Page of Swords

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Returning [15 Jul 2001|11:57pm]
[ mood | worried ]

Sorry about the short absence. I have been busy of late.

On Thursday, I completed my passport application. I should be good for travel as of 23 August. Where I'll go, I have no clue, but at least I can make my plans and go, without need for pause.

Friday was a lazy day, except for a little bit of running around done in the late afternoon, but I still didn't go online till very late. I happened to run into somebody online; we chatted for several hours, until I finally collapsed at 4am.

Saturday I called Megara and talked with her for hours. Gods, how I love to hear her voice. There's something reassuring about talking to her, especially because of the distances between us right now.

Today is Sunday; Megara went back to work this evening, which means I won't hear from her until Thursday at the earliest. I've played computer games, and had dinner... and done just about everything humanly possible to avoid thought. I miss her; every day seems to last a week, and every week a month. I miss her.

Maybe tomorrow will go better; I'll find something to do to pass the time. It can't go any harder than last week.

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So Right [12 Jul 2001|04:07pm]
[ mood | rejuvenated ]

Today, I feel good.

This is a fairly new sensation for me; usually, I don't feel good unless I'm around her. Without her, I settle for tolerable, and am content with that. But today, I feel good.

My music seems clearer, brighter. All my energies seem to have refocused and cleaned up their mess in being refocused. I guess I needed last night more than I knew.

Last night I stayed up reading, because I feared going to bed... when I finally did go to bed, my fears were confirmed. I have seldom felt so alone as I did last night. Usually, I can face the coldness of my bed without pain, but last night it was overwhelming. I cried myself to sleep. At times I felt like a warm hand was on my shoulder, and that made me cry harder; I knew it was only my pillow. Gods send this isn't how it will always be... send that I will get stronger, and not weaker over time.

No matter; Today, I feel good. I think the cry shook loose a lot of bits and pieces that had been in bad spots before. ::shrugs:: Oh well. I will go back to my work, as always, and miss my beloved Mate, as always, and count down the days until I hold her again. As always.

Be well, all of you whom I love. Be well.

-the Page of Swords

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SCA night [11 Jul 2001|10:40pm]
[ mood | thirsty ]

Tonight I took fighter practice at SCA. I fought hard and well; for my trouble, I have cuts on both index fingers, and a bashed nail on the left mid finger. No head shots (either head), so I made out well on the evening.

It's been three weeks since I last played, so I was glad to have been as with-it as I was.

Unfortunately, I forgot to bring water, so I felt a gallon low when I got home. Ugh. Much water was guzzled when I got home. Now I've got a tummyache. Ugh. :-| Ah well. That'll teach me.

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A meditation and it's results [10 Jul 2001|07:41pm]
[ mood | thoughtful ]

Today, having been prompted by questions raised by the evening with Liz and Daniel, I pondered upon the nature of men in the current time, within the cultural context of the USA, and came up with an odd set of thoughts as the harvest.

(For purposes of context, the exact issue was a comment by Liz to the effect that men are difficult to train properly; the reply by both Daniel and myself was that men of the US are taught to have too much yang nature.)

Take it as given, for the purposes of this, that our assertion was, in fact, correct. Whether it was or not is more or less irrelevant for the end result of the meditation, but it could taint the stream of logic used to arrive there. I try not to reason from false premises, and I feel like I am on solid ground, given the prevalence of the John Wayne Code of Manhood, but feelings are not reality, and gut instincts are not proofs.

Men are taught to be overly-yang. Because yin and yang are not absolutes, but exist only in correlation to one another, to be overly-yang is to be insufficiently-yin. Men become too sunny, too hard, too hot, too firy. At the same time we become insufficiently shady, insufficiently soft, insufficiently cold, insufficiently wet. It is as if the Earth has fixed in its course, and the seasons have halted at Midsummer. The orderly procession of things has become fixed and society as a whole is suffering for it. Thus it is that (just under) half the population has become as the desert- barren, windblasted, and usable only with supreme effort.

What is more, the ultimate point given by most men for their being overly-yang is the success of their ventures, be they business or personal. Clearly this is wrong, and painfully so. As Sun-Tzu said in the outer (commentary) chapters of the Art of War (Sun-tzu ping-fa), "The old masters knew how to use the way in which one thing excels over all other things to overcome what they faced; thus they succeeded at everything they did. Whatever is faced may be overcome by something, but what will be usable to overcome is not fixed." Men have become fixed by their yang-natures into always attempting to use yang principles to overcome what they face. To say that this will be successful half the time as a justification is to resign one's life to Chaos, and I for one will not be governed by the flip of a coin.

To be successful, then, requires the willingness and ability to use both yin and yang principles-- to have both the yin and yang natures in their appropriate, (and appropriately changing,) balance. What fire will not burn down, water may wash away. What withstands the floods may be caught alight with scraps of tinder.

That is all known ground; anyone in a position to know and to notice could see as much, and probably would state it with greater clarity.

I feel that there may be another way, a way of being neither yin nor yang: to be perfectly still amongst the movements and rhythms of the Universe. To be completely inscrutable. Perhaps this is what Mushashi-san wrote of as the Void. I would not pretend to know.

What is known, is that society is seriously fscked up, and needs to be linted badly.

Until next time, be well, friends.

-The Page of Swords

(Note: This message was edited 10Jul01 at 10:23 by the addition of the mood icon. No other changes were made. -tPoS)

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Life and Times [10 Jul 2001|12:44pm]
[ mood | content ]

Good afternoon, everyone.

Today I got started a little late, as I ended up staying out till 2 in the morning. That wouldn't have been so bad, except that I feel really odd right now: it's 12:40 local, and I've only just now finished cleaning up and getting dressed and whatnot.

If you're expecting the sordid details of Liz and her man, go away. Oh... alright, just email me, and I'll get right back to ya. ;-)

(BTW, Liz, Daniel... I'm just kidding. I wouldn't do that to you any more than you would do that to me. But it *is* fun to tease about. ;-) )

As far as that went, it went well. I knew well enough to stay out of the way as much as I humanly could, and they had the good grace to let me.

Today looks like it may well be shot. I've got some leftovers here in the fridge that I think are going to be lunch, and then once Megara goes to her lab and then work, I'm going to be more or less alone again.

Being alone suits me well; the silence of an empty house is comforting to me. The only sounds to reach my ears are the clatterings of my own keyboard, and the chimes of AIM. It feels *good* to be alone, because at least this way I'm free to imagine myself in her arms without needing to worry about dealing with anyone else. If I can't have the Real Thing, at least let me remember in peace what the Real Thing was like, and don't make me have inane conversation while I'm at it. ::nods, satisfied with his rant::

Don't worry too much about my rants, guys. This too shall pass. I'm just getting cagey because it's a little over two weeks before I see her again, and... I get more and more wound up the closer the day gets.

Until next time, be well.

-The Page of Swords

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Lazy Monday [09 Jul 2001|06:03pm]
[ mood | relaxed ]

I may want to apologize for last night. I know that many of you who know me think I'm put together a little more squarely than last night would imply.
If you're one of those people who would like me to apologize, please redirect your replies to /dev/null. Put another way, for those of you who think that Windows is a good operating system to use, and that WinME is full of well-implemented, innovative features: Blow me. Well... perhaps I should restate that in your native tongue. ::makes baby noises:: There. ::sighs softly::

Today's title is a blatant lie. Today's been anything but lazy. I've been going since the moment I woke up. First to ASU (where I'm currently still, in fact). I've been with Liz all day today, which is a Good Thing... don't get me wrong, she is as a sister to me, but it pales in comparison to being with Megara. ::sighs:: No matter. Megara is at work today, dealing with the munchkins put into her charge, Gods bless her. I'll wait until she's back. I miss her. Gods above, I miss her.

It's edging up on time for me to head out. Whereas I don't get to be with my girl, Liz is going to be with her man. I don't begrudge her an instant of it. One of us should be where we ought.

Thanks, Machinegirl, for commenting to the first of my log entries. I know you've been having a hard couple of weeks, but seeing you take the time to come visit me makes me feel pretty darn good. ::hugs fer Machinegirl::

With that, I am gone. Time to be with Liz and her boyfriend. Ah, the joys of being a third wheel. :-| Such is life. Until next time, be well, friends.

-The Page of Swords

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A first tilt at the windmill [09 Jul 2001|01:29am]
[ mood | quixotic ]

Why not? All journeys start somehow. This journey begins with me playing the fool.

Then again, these sorts of things are to be expected at 1:30 in the morning, yes? So I'll lower visor and ready lance, and set myself in the saddle for the charge. Who really cares if there are no giants? I don't.

Come now... you don't think I would stoop to being serious, would you? For shame... I am as much jongleur as fool. Gaudy makeup or black-and-white, each is as comfortable as the other, and both as real as my own face. Cowardly, to hide behind the act? Of course. I am a man of myriad faults. I will not deny them. I am given to drinking and smoking, gambling and cussing, and hell, I've even chased a skirt or two. Didn't get anywhere, but that's as well, considering that She Who Is My Mate is in my life. She is why I am, and certainly why I am this way, and not any of the thousand thousand ways I might have been.

I wouldn't trade a minute with her for a brick of gold. Even the bad times are filled brimfull of love and affection. How can a man resist such love as that? More to the point, why would any man want to??

Yet, I see men every day throw away the love of their Mates, tossing it aside for more money, a bigger house, a faster car. I wash my hands of them; they deserve what comes. I eat, and am full. I sleep, and wake warm, dry, and happy. I will not be convinced of this 'Consumer Culture' that these modern times have concieved. Even as I sit before the computer, I know that if pressed, I would scratch out my musings on a rock to be tossed aside. The rock might be read, in this era, or left for the archaeologists of some future era, digging at our present the way we dig at the past of those who were here before even Leif al'Eric came. This page is already gone- sustained only by electrical impulses, and cathode ray tubes. After the computer is turned off, and the screen fades to blackness, what will be left of it? A memory, to die with the reader, if not gone years before. I accept that the technology that saves me hours of effort hastens the erasure of that little effort I have made. Such is the way of the times.

My, how I ramble. Perhaps I should have named myself 0. instead, so as not to raise expectations beyond the quality of the work? I can only hope that the acronym of my name will not be missed.

It is late however, and sleep calls. Tomorrow brings more windmills, and freshmade lances. I won't miss it for the world.

-The Page of Swords

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