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"That Was Such a Nice Thing You Did for Me"

I had a dream last night. I hardly ever have dreams that I remember. Do I actually have them then, or what? They say that those who dream during the night and day have more active imaginations -- they're more creative. Thusly... This only confirms what I've been saying all this time.

By the way, remember kids: only creative people use Macs. Spent some time browsing the Mac advocacy boards out of curiosity for Apple's current status... Why is it that Mac advocacy rests on the assumption that PC users idolize Windows the same way that Mac advocates idolize MacOS? I hate Windows more than any Mac user ever could, but I've learned how to get it to do what I want it to, and as pathetic as it is, it still suits my purposes better than anything else. Windows makes so many things so unnecessarily difficult. But if you have the patience and time to spend on it, a Windows box can be absolutely the best thing you've ever used.

Anyway, the dream went like this: I was playing tennis doubles with some partner whom I guess was randomly selected to play with me. We were playing on a court which looked awfully like court 11, if memory serves me correctly, at the tennis center I used to take lessons at when I was a teen. I have fond memories of those courts, I suppose. We were warming up for our match, against our opponents, and for some reason I was serving to start out the match. Now, as a tennis player, I had a really terrible serve by the time I stopped playing, even though when I was a beginner, I had an awesome one. My second serve has always been bad. No doubt, my form got sloppy and I picked up bad habits as I played more and more. Although normally I'm pretty good about retaining textbook form when I play sports...

So there was some vagueness about whether we were ready to start the match, and I was standing at the customary spot for the server in doubles. As it was a dream, I looked down to see that I had no shoes on. What would it take to realize the absurdity of a dream and realize that one was just imagining it all? Or is when we make that discovery the exact moment we wake up? So I had no shoes on, and I went to go put some on. I actually thought about playing with no shoes on for a few moments.

So I was off in my own little world until I put my shoes on, and when I came back, everyone was telling me that it was no longer my turn to serve. I looked at everyone in disbelief, and my mom (who in real-life watched many of my tennis matches, even when I played as embarrassingly as I did) confirmed it. By interrupting the service motion and game, our team had been penalized the whole game to the opponent.

Needless to say, I was pissed off. I remember feeling like I'd let my new partner down, and then he would think me to be incompetent as a first impression. The other team did the equivalent of rolling their eyes. I remember feeling like I had failed yet again before my parents' eyes.

See, in the real world, I used to play baseball, too, and I made a lot of blunders at games my parents would attend. I remember that one irate coach who basically turned me off to baseball because of his tendencies towards nepotism and not playing the damn game for fun). In all fairness to myself, I also had real moments of brilliance, but for someone like me, it's always the mistakes which are amplified far more than the successes. I will also add that my rookie season (I played two seasons) was my best, and mainly because the coach let me do my thing the way I wanted to, which meant I was an awesome hitter and first baseman that year. Let that be a lesson to all of you -- let me do what I want to do, and you won't regret it. That second season was pretty harsh... We won the City Championship, but at a hefty cost to my incentive to play baseball. I remember doing something foolish one time not advancing to third base from second, even when the teammate on first was being squeezed from first to second when the hitter hit the ball. That was pretty stupid. I have moments of blankness. Like the car accident.

So in my dream, I said something as useless as, "Alright, FINE, what do I have to do?" My mom told me I had to go fill out the forms for the penalty. So I went into the main office at the tennis center and walked around pissed for a bit looking for the officials table, and I woke up before I could find it.

I remember waking up hating people even more. The dream didn't seem that far from reality, as far as the ridiculous rules and condescending looks of everyone around me go. When you're down on the ground, who helps you out, instead of kicking you and spitting on you?

So that was my little dream. Perhaps boring to you, but worth writing down for posterity for me.

Did you ever play Grand Theft Auto? Top-down computer game which involved stealing/carjacking cars in order to complete tasks assigned by your boss. If you racked up too many offenses, like hit-and-run, attempted murder, car theft, nailing pedestrians, and so on, the cops would come at you and try to stop you so they could bust you. You can either evade them (they set up roadblocks, too), demobilize their cars, or get out and shoot them for big points. This was a fun game, which got virtually no accolades. Perhaps it's just a closet favorite for most gamers. At any rate, I got the demo for nostalgia's sake. My roommate's begun his addiction to Heroes of Might and Magic 3. I usually only just take a look at new games on his system -- Quake 2 and perhaps some small wastes of time on UltraHLE, the N64 emulator, are as far as I'll usually go.

We attempted to go see the Matrix on opening night -- the last show was sold out 45 minutes before its time. The last show, I must say, was at 10:15PM, and it was the latest showing of the Matrix anywhere in town. Yes, that's right... Austin, the town with about 50,000 college students and the latest movie is at 10:15PM. On maybe five theatres opening night. This and several other things have made me like Austin less and less over time. If you live in Austin, you're subject to the kooky schedules of other Austinites, and the zoning of companies and businesses. Wouldn't you think there'd be good stores near the campus? All we have for stores is the Drag, so fucking appropriately named. It's nice when the news does a report on homeless people (you know, not the unfortunate ones, but instead the shitty, self-deluding teens who think they're sticking it to The Man by dropping out of school and taking to the streets, begging for any spare change at all, mister) living in unfortunate areas, and they show the Drag. Ah yes, the Drag, only a hop, skip, and jump away from me, the common area for all UT students to come buy their Gap clothing, submit helplessly into buying overpriced textbooks, and be hassled with flyers and sob stories by the locals.

I'm pretty tired of getting e-mails from people asking for information about Robin Hood (I have a section on my site devoted to Robin Hood). There's a clear disclaimer on the front page of that section. I also even explain the vagueness which people want cleared up. I understand that sometimes people won't be able to find the answer, and I should probably be nice and civil about it, but what if I just want to file those messages away without responding to them?

Speaking of e-mail, which consists more these days of stock market-related daily web site reports and spam mail, I tend only to get e-mail regarding my Soapboxes when I talk about one thing: relationships. Being a sex talk show host must be the easiest thing in the world. Everyone loves to talk about sex, no matter how many times they've talked about it before. Anything said about sex is funny, or at least uplifting. All a talk show host has to do is the equivalent of what Jerry Springer does in his shows: attempt to be the voice of reason. That said, Adam and Dr. Drew are pretty damn funny. I tuned into their radio show a few times before they hit it big and became popular. So the lesson here for me is to talk about SEX SEX SEX if I want to get people to think about and respond to what I write about without dismissing it as childish fluff. However, my object is to receive as little e-mail as possible, so obviously the conclusion is to NEVER WRITE ABOUT SEX AGAIN. Hmm, I suppose that won't be an issue, will it?

Right now I'm reading The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom? by David Brin. It's an excellent book so far, providing a lesson in writing technique by laying out solid groundwork before even discussing the main topic of the book. Basically, Brin is looking ahead into the future, pondering whether it would be better to have either a society where privacy is transparent or opaque -- that is, since the Orwellian cameras are going to be around us no matter what we do, is it better to restrict access to privacy or make everything public? I'm also reading Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morals piece by piece. Heavy reading and not exactly something you can read while you're distracted by anything else.

I'm earning far less than what I could be earning, from what I've heard. That kind of burns me up. I mean, sure I do this for enjoyment, but there IS a bottom line. I don't care if I'm not paid much, if I didn't have the lingering doubt that the contractor's getting me for a bargain price. Are people equitable enough to make the cut more fair to everyone, even if what's been agreed upon originally isn't fair?

When I get a lot of money so that I have an excess amount (Ah, but when will that be, Ben? The answer is it will be excess when I lose my frugality...), I'd like to anonymously help out random people. I believe I mentioned this in my .plan project somewhere. In light of my relationship problems, I'd like to buy plane tickets and whatnot for needy online couples that can't afford to go see each other. I was lucky enough to have the ability to travel and see Anna, but others can't afford it. I'm not too enamored with taking credit -- I just would like to see online couples get every chance they can.

I want to send out a quick thank you to all those folks who have believed in me and put their trust in me. This isn't the proper time or preparation to read off a list of specific people; however, I did want to make it clear that it means a lot to me to be told that I'm trusted. If you can't trust someone, you're never going to see the full potential of him. But someone else might, and then it would be too late for you to reconsider.

Why did the stock market have to be closed on Friday? Yeah, I can already sense my new addiction. It's not so much my actually purchasing stocks that is intriguing, so my parents can stop worrying about how much money I'll lose -- mundane things like browsing through companies' fund portfolios or through 10-K405's are actually sort of interesting. It opens up a whole new level of understanding how businesses operate. Comparing that with stock analysis, it certainly makes one's transactions with a business more intimate. Waiting eagerly to see what happens on Monday, after a late Thursday rally...

How can anyone sit there and decry the NATO "aggression" on the Serbians when meanwhile there are reports of mass graves, shooting and burning of male Kosovars, and the exodus of helpless citizens to neighboring countries? I agree that the air strikes have proven to accomplish very little except provide propaganda for anti-war folks and the country being bombed. I agree that there are regions in the world that have had far worse crimes against humanity committed, that NATO has failed to address on a military scale. But it seems awfully spoiled and naive to only find problems with countries like the U.S., which always seem to so selfishly and aggressively meddle with countries that are busy committing genocide and other atrocities. If the U.S. stopped its actions in Europe and the Middle East, who else would step up and take care of the problems besides bitching about how evil the U.S. military is? England's taking some initiative, and Sweden's pushing for more diplomacy, but how about the rest of Europe that sits so idly by, letting innocents die? I hope that if something happens in North America, Canada and Mexico don't just sit around too. I feel sorry for the innocent people who have fallen victim to the bombings, but I feel more grief towards the thousands of others who have reportedly died because of the Serbian government. Choose your evil... To those of you not in the U.S. and can't understand why we're meddling elsewhere, please understand that we're quite evenly divided on these issues. Or, at least, there's clearly no majority opinion. The military and government just do their own thing regardless.

I'm going to overcome another life plateau in not too long. I'm almost at a point where I'll have no idea what will happen to me. I graduate in a year and my work is beginning to hit its stride. Personal life will obviously be fucked up once I graduate, particularly given recent relationship news of mine... I'll be looking for a city and a nice little place of my own, the details of which remain unclear at this point, depending on how my work turns out. I don't even know how much money I'll need to earn first off, or how much money I COULD be earning. I don't know what studies I'll have undertaken by this time next year -- I could study more philosophy, or more language, or more business, or whatever works itself out. I just don't know.

I like to think that this is just the beginning, and that I haven't made any decisions thus far that will impact the future too much. What I know is that I've gained much perspective on things since I started going to UT, and I've realized that I'm going to have to approach all this as if I'm going it alone, since I'm the only thing I can really bet on (yes, parents, you are the exception, needless to say).

So how is everything going to pan out for me in the near future? Not even I know. I just have to continue what I've been doing, and hope for the best. Doing so has yet to disappoint me...

Audaces fortuna iuvat.

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