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Random Musings

May 2002


Saturday, 11 May, 2002: Mmmm, long time without updating. Almost certainly too long without updating. But I'm back again (thanks Paige) and it's kind of nice.

It's nice to be home again. I missed the place. Spring is coming slowly, I wouldn't mind having it be a little warmer right now but I love watching all the colors return and seeing the wildlife again. Even the persistent spring rain isn't bothersome. I've interviewed with the local parks service for a summer job doing basic park maintenance and trailwork, I'm hopeful that I'll get the job. I can think of little better than working outside in nature. Hard work to be certain, but it gives back everything that one puts into it. It's nice to have something more to show for a day's work than a grade on a paper or some arrangement of magnetic domains on a ZIP disk.

In twenty days a good friend of mine will be home again after spending several months in California on her first internship. I can hardly wait to see her again, being out of communication with friends is not something I particularly care for. I've been busy around here at home too. Fixed my old moped up so I can sell it with a clean conscience. Adjusted the clutch in my 914 which magically cured what I had feared was about $1,200 of transmission problems; all-in-all a nice surprise. On the other hand, not everything in my automotive life is going quite so well. While I managed to repair the rust hole in my workhorse Honda Accord's floorpan I'm starting to really fear for the old girl for the first time.

If I owned it outright as with my cycle or the 914 I'd be all right, but the Honda is still technically my parents' car, and as the bodywork continues to deteriorate (as is perfectly normal in a 14 year old car with 210,000 miles) they are putting more and more pressure on me to replace the car. I've been able to hold them off so far, but I think that it may only be a matter of time before they intervene regardless of my wishes. I know, I can hear the people out there saying, "Oh yeah, so harsh. Your parents want to buy you a better car and it bothers you." complete with eye-rolling and all that goes with it. Still, I hate seeing machinery abused, and given the Honda's age, mileage, and would-be price it would most certainly be absolutely killed by whomever would buy it. The 914 I could sell without worrying because it's an older car that's in demand as a fun project, but an old Accord is simply an object to be beaten to most people. I will not live to see that day though.

I don't know why I'm so attached to such a ratty old car, but the old Honda is very special to me. Maybe it's just the novelty of a sedan with retractable headlights, or maybe it's what I call "First Car Syndrome", or maybe it's just the part of me that likes the things I know and doesn't like change. In any case, the idea of my Honda being mistreated is unsettling to me. If I can work out a way for the Honda to be set aside for future repair and rebuilding I may rethink things, but I have no intention of letting go of the old girl. The Honda's a survivor. It has put in its 50 missions and it has come though with a few dents, but it's still kicking. The idea of letting it come this far only to throw it all away simply doesn't sit right with me.

Sunday, 19 May, 2002: Eight days since I've stopped to write. That's at least 5 days too long. I can't claim to have been very busy as I did last time; need to set up a routine for myself here that includes writing.

The Honda's out of immediate danger. (Yay!) The "bargain" car that had attracted the parents' attention as a potential replacement turned out to have a myriad of problems. Seems that age and mileage really don't matter much if one takes care of the machinery. Fortunately for me, I take near obsessive care of my vehicles so the Honda's in better mechanical shape than most vehicles a quarter of its age.

"He's a poet. He's a picker. He's a prophet. He's a pusher. He's a pilgrim and a preacher and a problem when he's stoned. He's a walking contradiction; partly truth and partly fiction, taking every wrong direction on his lonely way back home." Kris Kristofferson takes a lot of flack from people these days but his music strikes a chord with me. I see a simple straightforward honesty in it that seems to be absent in modern music. As is the case with most of my favourite singers/songwriters Kristofferson seems to be writing for himself. I get the feeling that he'd be writing songs and singing them even if he didn't have a recording contract.

Everything's made to be disposable now. I guess that this shouldn't be something that appears as odd to one of my generation but it does. I'm noticing this more and more often, most recently because our 1979 Simplicity garden tractor has developed a crack in the mowing deck and my father has decided that it's time to get a new mower. It's amazing how something as simple as a garden tractor can change though. There's so much plastic on the new models that I can't help but marvel that the things stay together at all. In place of the 1/4 inch thick metal that makes up the mowing deck on our '79, the new mowers have 1/8 inch metal and cheap plastic wheels for the deck instead of the metal rollers on bearings. Even the frames of the new mowers smack of cheapness, with hollow extrusions and stampings replacing the heavy cast-steel rails on our '79. There's no way that one of these new machines could ever match our old Simplicity in terms of life-expectancy.

It's saddening to look at this disposable culture. I can't help but wonder from whence it has come. (It's certainly not been handed down from the era in which "whence" was a common term.) Nothing seems to be built in a particularly solid manner anymore, and nearly nothing is built to be fixable. Ending has actually become better than Mending. I could rail against the consumerist nature of our society, but that's neither my desire nor even my point. I don't give a damn what people do with their money, if they want to show off, more power to them. My problem is with the lack of quality. Nothing lasts anymore. The life expectancy for a new VCR is three years. Cell phones crap out in six months.

It's not just the products though. People don't want to take care of things anymore. Cars get their oil changed at 7,000 to 8,000 miles or whenever the owner feels like it. Laptop computers get thrown around and beaten up. CD's get used as coasters. People have bought into the idea that if something doesn't work it just needs to be replaced. Not me though. I'll stick with my old-fashioned preference for fixing things thankyouverymuch. I'd rather have the character of an old machine that needs a little coaxing to get going than the bland same-ness of something completely without special instructions. I'm keeping the faith, along with some of my more mechanically-inclined friends. Sure we get awfully greasy at times, but it's a good feeling. Roll up your sleeves sometime and see what I mean. Learn to recognise quality. Keep the old spirit alive.

Wednesday, 22 May, 2002: She's on my mind again. I don't know quite why I bother myself with her as much as I do, but I suppose that the reason is relatively unimportant. I can't help but wonder about her sometimes. Does she realise what she's doing on at least some level, or does the current run at too great a depth to cause anything aside from a vague feeling malaise in her? She's like a bird that has, against all reasonable expectations somehow managed to clip its own wings and yet not noticed that it can't fly. One of these days I'm afraid that she'll be unpleasantly surprised when she finds that she can't bear herself up on her own.

I'm not sure which will be the greater pity: Her having to discover this herself, or her never discovering it and continuing on in life without a change.

Thursday, 23 May, 2002: I'm laying here in bed with the ThinkPad on my lap as I type this. For one reason or another, this seems to be a most conducive environment for this writing. This is exactly the type of thing that makes me glad to have a laptop.

That odd wistful feeling is back again. It's the vague feeling that I should be looking for something, but I'm never quite sure just what that something is. A strange sort of restlessness it is indeed that makes me restless to find someone with whom to share my life and in whom to confide completely. Even as I type that though, I see that it really doesn't matter since I'm always happy regardless, I have only to get in touch with the right part of me. Still, I'm going to be putting more than a few miles on the motorcycle this summer (finally). There is nothing that can beat the cycle for enjoying the drive in and of itself. The journey is far superior to the destination when I'm on the cycle.

Thursday, 30 May, 2002: "Though my eyes can see, I still am a blind man. Though my mind can think, I still am a madman. I hear the voices when I'm dreaming. I can hear them say, 'Carry on my wayward son. There'll be peace when you are done. Don't you cry no more.'." (Kansas, Wayward Son)

Quite so.

Another Spring night that is altogether too hot for my liking. It's quite pleasant when I'm outside wandering around or just sitting and listening to the darkness, but it's too warm for sleep to come easily. About 81 degrees in my room according to the little thermometer. (That's in Fahrenheit for all you backward people still using Centigrade.) Well, if I can't sleep, I might as well think and ramble for a bit.

I have a job finally. All I had to do was pester the Metroparks a little bit and bang, I've got a job for the summer. Nothing glamourous or anything, just trailwork and basic park maintenance but I'm really quite enthusiastic about the whole deal.

What else... Ah yes. I've thought about Laura a time or two. Been a while since I've heard from her. I wonder how she's doing this summer down in Pittsburgh. Hopefully well. I certainly look forward to catching up with her again this Autumn.

That's about all that has been on my mind lately. Paige and Pavel, thanks for keeping the pressure on me to keep up (sort of) with my journal here.

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Last Updated:  11 May, 2002

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