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Mon, Jul. 4th, 2011, 07:05 pm

Been having a really hard time this weekend.

A good friend of mine contacted me out of the blue a couple days ago. He and I used to play games online together quite a bit, on and off for the last four years now. Last year he and his wife moved to a house in the Louisiana countryside, and due to his spotty internet access has been unable to play many games with me the last year or so, so it was a bit of a surprise to hear from him.

He's about 20 years older than me, and not nearly as good at games, but always willing to try stuff with me and play cooperatively. We'd play games that had a lot of downtime in them, and during that time got to chat quite a bit about our lives, families, etc. It was nice to have these times, because he had good insight and was a good listener, and even though his reaction times weren't that great, he was smart and experienced to offset it. It was almost like playing games with my dad.

Well he called me up to give me some bad news. His wife was diagnosed with lung cancer last year, and went on chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Last May the 2nd scan of her lungs came back all clear, but then 4 days later she had the worst headache ever. They did a scan of her brain, and she had "too many tumors to count." They've given her 3 months to live. He needed someone to talk to and I did as best I could, telling him about how my mom passed away from breast cancer, but ever since I hung up the whole thing has been eating at me again, and tonight I couldn't even feel comfortable going to a group party because I was so bummed about it all. The entire weight of the inevitability and depression and sadness and frustration just all came back to me as if it was 12 years ago and my own mom again. I was supposed to call him again, but the whole emotional weight of it was just too much for me to do it.

I know that God's hand is in the situation, and that I'm here to comfort my friend as others comforted me, but it's just really really hard right now.

Sun, Jul. 27th, 2008, 11:46 pm
Couldn't post this in a comment.

01. Bought everyone in the pub a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said "I love you" and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Done a striptease
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Stayed up all night long, and watch the sun rise
15. Seen the Northern Lights
16. Gone to a huge sports game
17. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
18. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
19. Touched an iceberg
20. Slept under the stars
21. Changed a baby's diaper
22. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
23. Watched a meteor shower
24. Gotten drunk on champagne
25. Given more than you can afford to charity
26. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
27. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
28. Had a food fight
29. Bet on a winning horse
30. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
31. Asked out a stranger
32. Had a snowball fight
33. Photocopied your bottom on the office photocopier
34. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
35. Held a lamb
36. Enacted a favorite fantasy
37. Taken a midnight skinny dip
38. Taken an ice cold bath
39. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar
40. Seen a total eclipse
41. Ridden a roller coaster
42. Hit a home run does digital count? :-P
43. Fit three weeks miraculously into three days
44. Danced like a fool and not cared who was lookingdon't know any other way to dance
45. Adopted an accent for an entire day
46. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
47. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
48. Had two hard drives for your computer And 6 total partitions
50. Loved your job for all accounts
51. Taken care of someone who was shit faced
52. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
53. Had amazing friends
54. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
55. Watched wild whales (Just last week)
56. Stolen a sign
57. Backpacked in Europe
58. Taken a road-trip
59. Rock climbing
60. Lied to foreign government's official in that country to avoid notice
61. Midnight walk on the beach
62. Sky diving
63. Visited Ireland
64. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love
65. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
66. Visited Japan
67. Bench pressed your own weight
68. Milked a cow
69. Alphabetized your records
70. Pretended to be a superhero
71. Sung karaoke
72. Lounged around in bed all day
73. Posed nude in front of strangers
74. Scuba diving
75. Got it on to "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye
76. Kissed in the rain
77. Played in the mud
78. Played in the rain
79. Gone to a drive-in theatre
80. Done something you should regret, but don't regret it
81. Visited the Great Wall of China
82. Discovered that someone who's not supposed to have known about your blog has discovered your blog
83. Dropped Windows in favour of something better
84. Started a business
85. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
86. Toured ancient sites although what qualifies "ancient"?
87. Taken a martial arts class
88. Sword fought for the honour of a woman
89. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight Does Battletech count?
90. Gotten married
91. Been in a movie
92. Crashed a party
93. Loved someone you shouldn't have
94. Kissed someone so passionately it made them dizzy
95. Gotten divorced
96. Had sex at the office
97. Gone without food for 5 days
98. Made cookies from scratch
99. Won first prize in a costume contest
100. Ridden a gondola in Venice
101. Gotten a tattoo
102. Found that the texture of some materials can turn you on
103. Rafted the Snake River
104. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
105. Got flowers for no reason
106. Masturbated in a public place
107. Got so drunk you don't remember anything
108. Been addicted to some form of illegal drug
109. Performed on stage
110. Been to Las Vegas
111. Recorded music
112. Eaten shark
113. Had a one-night stand
114. Gone to Thailand
115. Seen Siouxsie live
116. Bought a house
117. Been in a combat zone
118. Buried one/both of your parents :-(
119. Shaved or waxed your pubic hair off
120. Been on a cruise ship
121. Spoken more than one language fluently Do my dreams count?
122. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone
123. Bounced a check
124. Performed in Rocky Horror
125. Read - and understood - your credit report
126. Raised children
127. Recently bought and played with a favourite childhood toy I'm counting Bubble Bobble the Nintendo game
128. Followed your favourite band/singer on tour
129. Created and named your own constellation of stars
130. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
131. Found out something significant that your ancestors did
132. Called or written your Member of Congress
132a. Had them write back Seriously, 132a?
133. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
134. ... more than once?
135. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
136. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
137. Had an abortion or your female partner did This is something to strive for???
138. Had plastic surgery
139. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
140. Wrote articles for a large publication
141. Lost over 100 pounds
142. Held someone while they were having a flashback
143. Piloted an airplane
144. Petted a stingray
145. Broken someone's heart
146. Helped an animal give birth
147. Been fired or laid off from a job Ha!
148. Won money on a TV game show
149. Broken a bone
150. Killed a human being
151. Gone on an African photo safari
152. Ridden a motorcycle
153. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100mph For several hours through Wisconsin, on our way to Beth's cousin's wedding - we made it in time!
154. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
155. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
156. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild YUCK!
157. Ridden a horse
158. Had major surgery
159. Had sex on a moving train
160. Had a snake as a pet
161. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
162. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing
163. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
164. Visited more foreign countries than US states
165. Visited all 7 continents
166. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days I'm proud to have beaten Beth to this one
167. Eaten kangaroo meat
168. Fallen in love at an ancient Mayan burial ground WTF
169. Been a sperm or egg donor
170. Eaten sushi
171. Had your picture in the newspaper
172. Had 2 (or more) healthy romantic relationships for over a year in your lifetime
173. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
174. Gotten someone fired for their actions
175. Gone back to school
176. Parasailed
177. Changed your name
178. Petted a cockroach
179. Eaten fried green tomatoes
180. Read "The Iliad"
181. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
182. Dined in a restaurant and stolen silverware, plates, cups because your apartment needed them (for fun) We did take all the breadsticks home in my mom's purse once
183. ... and gotten 86'ed from the restaurant because you did it so many times, they figured out it was you
184. Taught yourself art from scratch
185. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (I've done parts, but not all)
186. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt
187. Skipped all your school reunions Sadly missed my 10 year
188. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
189. Been elected to public office
190. Written your own computer language
191. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
192. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
193. Built your own PC from parts 2 times for me now, several for others
194. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
195. Had a booth at a street fair
196. Dyed your hair
197. Been a DJ
198. Found out someone was going to dump you via LiveJournal (friends only, though)
199. Written your own role playing game Although we didn't finish it
200. Been arrested

Thu, Jun. 26th, 2008, 01:25 pm
Emptied friends list

I emptied out most of my friend's list. I really don't have time to check this much anymore and pretty much just check it for my wife's posts. It's nothing personal if I've removed you.

Fri, Apr. 4th, 2008, 02:01 pm
Programming haiku

Service call timeouts
Without any solution
Make me go insane

Thu, Feb. 28th, 2008, 02:37 pm

So, I love my grandpa, he's a great guy.. but a few years ago he discovered the internet. You might think this is a good thing, but the only way that it really impacts me is that he sends me these incredibly right-leaning email forwards. At the very beginning I told him I didn't like forwards and not to send them to me, but now that we went back and visited this past January he's decided to regularly send them on to me.

I don't like them. They're stupid. Or one-sided.

There's a few, like the "OMG Obama is a Muslim who doesn't pledge allegiance!! If he's elected the terrorist win!!" which are pretty easy to respond to - find the snopes article addressing it and reply back.

Then there's the other ones where it's not so much ridiculous as it is just propaganda. I read them and just get increasingly frustrated by the end of it. It's filled with logical fallacy arguments that get progressively worse (e.g. Since everyone supported WWII and were good Americans for doing it, everyone against the war in Iraq isn't a good American).

I obviously have very different opinions about a variety of issues from my grandparents, but out of respect for them have for the most part just bit my tongue when it comes to them. I got in a minor fight with them when we went to visit because they kept repeating the Obama's a Muslim thing, and felt pretty bad about it later.

I just don't know what to do. On the one hand, I could just delete any mail from my grandpa that isn't written directly by him, or I could continue to try and address all the things he keeps sending my way. I'm starting to lean towards the former again, because he just doesn't seem to be capable of open-minded discourse about these subjects.

Fri, Feb. 15th, 2008, 12:22 pm

I hate being sick. It's probably the best example of a situation where I wish I wasn't as in tune with my senses as I am.

I also hate that part of me still carries the 'free day off, let's play!' mentality from childhood while sick rather than just resting and drinking fluids all day long.

Sun, Jan. 27th, 2008, 12:07 am
Amazon Holiday Party

We went to the company's holiday party tonight - it was a blast. It took place in the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum, which Amazon rented out. Admission was free, throngs of people were there (some dressed up in nuclear protection suits, as well as Darth Vader and General Grevious from Star Wars), and we got a free concert from the Presidents of the United States of America. It rocked.

Edit: Video:

Wed, Jan. 9th, 2008, 07:16 pm
Instant Messenger

You know, it occurs to me that I probably wouldn't even be married if it weren't for instant messenger. I'm not nearly as witty and talkative in person as I can be online. I just can't think of funny things to say as easily at the speed of speech as I can at the speed of typing.

Mon, Dec. 17th, 2007, 02:29 pm
too busy

Here's the short list (from just today):

* Buy gifts for parents online (not done)
* Get gift card at coffee shop (not done)
* Book tickets to Michigan (done - I hope?)
* Coordinate trip to Michigan so we get picked up at airport (done - I hope)
* Mail Christmas present (done)
* Schedule interview (done)
* Clean apartment (not done)
* Cook supper for company tonight (not done)
* Fix expense report from last week
* Figure out Christmas skiing plans

Then all the regular work stuff too, like the 100 tickets in our queue this morning, and working on my actual project (which is taking forever).

My head aspload.

Wed, Nov. 28th, 2007, 10:10 am

As I hurry inside to escape the bone-chilling cold and snow, I'm greeted by a wave of heat and noise. The wood stove, kept fully stocked with summer-cut logs, radiates its heat throughout this cozy little cabin, deftly defying the sub-zero air outside. Inside, close to two dozen children are running around, playing games, talking, eagerly awaiting the next day of fun as their soaked jackets, mittens, hats and scarfs hang drying above the stove. The adults are gathered around the dinner table - too large for this little cabin, but too small for as many people that are crammed inside it - drinking their coffee, playing cards, and discussing the news and weather while underneath, dogs and cats are scavenging for food and safety respectively. Meanwhile the matriarch, ever dilligent, ever serving, is already preparing food for the next day, even as she brings in more homemade cookies from the porch freezer. Everyone is happy and cheerful, greeting family members who have travelled from afar, thankful for the bubbling voices of the children, and anxious to watch their beaming glow and hear their excited cries that will be coming the next day. For the next day is Christmas.

The day arrives and as more and more relatives pack themselves into the cabin under the enormous nine-foot tree, the kids can hardly contain their excitement. The presents they've shaken, poked, and stared at for what seemed like so long are nearly ready to open. The friends they call family are all around, and everything seems just right. Grandpa quiets everyone down enough to remind everyone why we're here, as if presents and family and the excitement of Christmas wasn't enough, we are also here to celebrate Jesus birth. After the crowd has quieted a bit, my grandpa turns to me and asks me to read the Christmas story. My voice is shaky and nervous as I read the Luke passage, doing my best for my grandpa, who looks on fondly. Finally it is done, and my grandpa prays over us all. The presents are then quickly passed out, with almost all of my cousins helping - they have found the secret, that the sooner all the presents are distributed, the sooner they can open them - and in a massive frenzy of wrapping paper genocide, many cheers can be heard, many exclamations of joy. The adults have their moment too, calmly opening their gifts and showing that glint of joy in their eyes or displaying an impressed look of surprise.

Soon the food is brought out, an overwhelming amount of food, toiled over for hours by my grandmother, the wrinkles around her eyes betraying the many grins she has grinned. Turkey and mashed potatoes, cranberries and cream corn, there are simply too many favorites to get more than a sampling of each on one plate. Even the dogs are excited, as children are prone to drop things and the grandparents spoil them even better than they do the grandchildren. Outside it is snowing again, enough for us to play tackle football tomorrow after we get tired of our new toys for a while. I can hardly contain myself, and that night my sleep is deep and satified.

Where did those days go? It seems so far away. Today things are so much different. Most of my cousins don't go to my grandparents for Christmas anymore. Georgia, Arizona, North Dakota, Washington... they're scattered to the four winds. We call each other on the phone and wistfully dream about those days, but they are gone. Few of them even make the effort to stay in touch, even though they share so many memories. Some of them I haven't spoken to in years.

My grandparents, full of age, are moving out of the cabin they retired to 22 years ago. The wood is too difficult to chop anymore, and the upkeep of everything has caused a mild stroke in my grandma. They just don't have the strength left to continue living so heartily. They still love all of us, but I have to announce my name when I call them now - they can no longer recognize my voice. Soon the cabin that owns so many of my memories will be gone, and sadly I fear.. fear its owners won't be very far behind.

My mom is gone, gone now for nine years, although the pain is still strong. So are the effects.. my brother is bitter and angry, and especially at Christmas, is not graceful. He is so far into debt that giving money is far better a gift than anything that would light his eyes with delight. My father is remarried and aloof. They no longer decorate for Christmas, the ornaments I cherished as a youth gather dust in storage. Having a family Christmas of his own seems foreign concept, my suggestions at gathering his family for the holidays make him nod in non-committal agreement. 7 Christmases since his new marriage, and only one have I spent in his house.

It feels as though my whole family has died or is dying. I can deal with that for most of the year by not thinking about it, but during the holidays its nearly impossible. Christmas used to be the best time of the year, but now it feels so lonely and empty. Anger, stress and anxiety has slowly replaced love, joy and anticipation.

My wife wanted to know why I didn't want to decorate this year.

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