Home of the Autographed Cat

Gwnewch y pethau bychain

Month: June 2001

Wherein The Autographed Cat Succumbs to the Popular Trend of the Day

So here I am. Amazing.

A lot of my friends keep these things. I read them religiously, every day. I even keep a web page with links to them all so I can click through them every day. And all the while, I think to myself, “Gosh, that seems interesting. Why do all these people lead such interesting lives? My journal would be boring.”

I am yet convinced that this experiment will bear me out. But I’ve always believed that good things are worth doing. So I, with some trepitation, set out on this journey of self-discovery in my leaky, drafty boat. Who knows what we’ll find?

More later…

Wherein the Autographed Cat introduces himself

I hate talking about myself.

I have very little trouble talking about just about anything under the sun that I’m interested in, at length. I can spend hours talking about music, or politics, or baseball, or comic books, or literature, or any one of a myriad of topics with passion and fervor. But when someone says “Tell me about yourself” I instantly lapse into deer-in-headlights mode. Perhaps, on reflection, I’m not very interested in myself.

So, who am i?

I am a 31 year old unix Systems Administrator who works for a communications company in Atlanta. I am single, with a long-term live-in girlfriend, four cats, and more books than shelf space. I am a musician and songwriter. I am a writer of fiction and non-fiction, with one collaborative novel (written with my best friend since jr. high and hopefully to be sold to someone). I am a liberal who voted for Dukakis, Clinton (twice) and Al Gore for president. I am a baseball fan who loves the Red Sox and the Braves. I am a voracious reader, who prefers SF and Fantasy, history, and literature.

I read the paragraph above, and I somehow feel like I haven’t really told you anything. I find it interesting that I, a person who has been expressing himself with the written word since the time I could hold a pencil, can’t come up with more than a disjointed list to answer the simple question “Who am I?”

We interact every day with other people, yet we only every touch the surface. The essence of a person can be found deep inside, and is only hinted at by the facets that flash in the light. “Who am I?” is more than a question of hobbies and jobs, it is the center of every person’s personal quest for identity and belonging.

It isn’t that I am not interested in myself — it’s that I simply don’t have an answer for you that seems both true and complete for me. And until I can find a satisfactory way to answer that question for myself, all I can offer you is a glimpse at the surface.

Wherein the Autographed Cat wishes he’d eaten earlier in the day…

Ugh. I have a tremendous headache.

I slept in today, I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, and would probably never see the sun if I could arrange my schedule for it. As it was, I got up around 11 am today. After puttering about for a bit, I finally motivated myself to get a shower and then set out to search for someone to give an emissions inspection for my car.

(Digression: Atlanta has the worst mass transit system in the known universe. First of all, wherever it is that you want to go, it’s almost certain that the train doesn’t go there. This is because there are only two train lines, one running north-south and the other running east west, which neatly divide the city into quarters. There is no train that goes around the perimeter, nor are there trains to service the NE-SW and NW-SE sectors. As a result, you pretty much have to rely on the bus system that is attached to MARTA in order to make it to your destination. Second of all, the bus probably doesn’t go there either. There is no bus service at all in Gwinnett County (where I live) or Cobb County, which between them have the largest suburban populations. And it’s fairly certain that the bus doesn’t not go there often enough to be of any use anyway, and will require at least 3 transfers to not take you there. All this in a metro area that covers about three-quarters of northwest Georgia. As a result, most people just don’t bother, and simply drive their cars. Which is why we have one of the worst air quality standards in the US.)

So I’m waiting for the car to be serviced, and I start to feel that familiar throb in my temples and just behind my eyes. And I realize that I haven’t had anything to eat today. Not a sausage, as my friend Annie would say. This was, to put it mildly, a mistake, as it is now three o’clock. I went immediately from the service station to a nearby Chinese buffet, but it’s too late. I am officially miserable. I make another couple of stops that I’d promised to while I was out, then came home to take a painkiller and lie down with a cold cloth to listen to A Prairie Home Companion.

deidrecorwyn (my girlfriend) doesn’t understand why I want to have the radio on if I have a headache. The idea that different people cope with things in different ways is apparently somewhat alien. Myself, when I’m feeling this miserable, the last thing I want to do is lie in bed and stare at the ceiling and listen to the rhythmic pounding of drums inside my skull. I need some kind of stimulus to distract me from the pain, and the radio is easiest because it allows me to close my eyes, something books and television don’t.

So after a few hours, I staggered down here to type this and generally try to recover some feeling that I am human. I think it’s working. I don’t feel nearly as awful as I did at 4 pm.

Wherein the Autographed Cat Spends Money On Himself For A Change

Tomorrow is my birthday. Hooray.

Every year, I receive some amount of money for my birthday, since no one ever knows what to buy me. I suppose I could set up wish lists and the like as other people do, but they don’t really work. For one, I’m not a very materialistic person. (Good thing, since Kitty is, but that’s for another entry). There’s rarely anything in the world out there I just can’t live without, which makes it difficult to make lists of things I want When I want something, I usually just get it, so by the time an event like my birthday comes around for someone to look at the list, I’ve probably already gotten whatever was on it. So folks being long used to this odd behavior, just give me money or gift certificates and let me sort it out.

Most years, finances are such that I end up using my birthday money to do mundane things like catch up on bills. This year things are not quite so tight, so I actually allowed myself to spend a little money on myself. I went down to The War Room, a local gaming shop, and picked up the new 3rd Edition AD&D DMG and MM, which I’d been procrastinating on buying. I also grabbed the first collection of Nodwick along with the two most recent issues, which catches me up on that — I’d been reading them by borrowing them from a friend I game with.

Nodwick is a delightful comic book for anyone who has ever enjoyed fantasy RPGs. Nodwick is a henchman, you see. Those long suffering hirelings who tote and bail for the adventurers, lest the might warrior or the cunning mage have to do any actual heavy lifting. In this case, Nodwick is also easily the most sensible and intelligent member of the party. It’s got a very keen sense of humor, and is well drawn.

Regarding 3rd Edition AD&D: I’m still disappointed that it entirely failed to suck. When it was first about to come out, I’d been reading little snatches about it here and there, and was fully expecting it to be just awful. Then a friend loaned me a copy of the new PHB to look over and I started reading it. And not only did it utterly fail to suck, but many of the things they chagned were either house rules we’d been using for years or things that I’d always thought would make sense. In other words, they for the most part did what I would have done.

So my thursday night gaming group decided, after a little playtesting, to convert over to the new rules. And, sad to say, we haven’t regretted it for a minute. Damn. And now I’m starting to pick up the books needed to start my own campaign. For one thing, we’re going to visit my sister-by-choice and her husband in Tennessee, and they want to play again. Also, I’ve proposed running a fill-in campaign on Thursdays for weeks when B, who travels a lot because of work, is out of town. So I’ve got to sharpen the old DMing skills again. Should be fun.

Now to kick back, relax, and enjoy some orange sherbert. Yum.

Wherein the Autographed Cat has some really strange things come out of his backbrain

Sometimes, I get an idea for a song and I sit and think about what I want to say in it and how I want to say it and all sorts of mechanical things that are necessary to transform that idea into music. Other times, it just comes up out of nowhere. It’s what I call “Dictation from the Muse”. “Here,” she says, “take this down. Don’t argue, just take it down.”

The music for this is still a little formless. I’ll keep walking around it until I find it:

Consumed by Wonder

The Hundred Acre Wood is dark is dark is closing in Shadows linger shadows leap from behind from within swirling spectres soundless formless timeless ageless seamless screaming shifting sliding swirling swooping down upon me in the closing of the dark of the dark of the dark of the Hundred Acre Wood

Wonderland is dark is dark is closing in Shadows shuffle shadows flee from below from without stalking phantoms mindful prideful vengeful willful skillful streaming swerving skulking stalking swooping up behind me in the closing of the dark of the dark of the dark of Wonderland

The Emerald City is dark is dark is closing in Shadows startle shadows fly from above from withstanding creeping spirits spaceless graceless endless threadless friendless weeping seeping sleeping creeping swooping from within me in the closing of the dark of the dark of the dark of the Emerald City

Wherein the Autographed Cat has been very very busy and neglecting this journal

Life for me can get very, very busy.

Monday was a good day. My birthday, hurrah, and all that. I went into work, because I’m taking most of the week of July 4th to go and visit my sister-by-choice (more on that later), her husband, and their daughter, in their new home in Knoxville, TN. They’re wonderful people, and we don’t visit them often enough, so I’m really looking forward to the trip.

Monday evening deidrecorwyn and I went out to dinner with telynor and her husband. deidrecorwyn wanted to go to a sushi place, and telynor knows where all the good sushi places are, so I said sure, as long as they serve actual food there as well. I don’t get along well with the idea of sushi. I don’t mind that other people eat it, but it’s just not really my idea of a good time. Fortunately, this place also had excellent teriyaki. I had teriyaki beef and shrimp fried rice, and deidrecorwyn had this massive sushi platter that could feed three people, from the look of it. Ah, sweet decadence. She took about half of it home with her for lunch the next day.

Tuesday I went and got my hair cut. Nothing drastic, just thinned a bit and trimmed so I look less like a wildman come down from the mountain. I’m trying to get the sides to grow out the same length as the back. We’ll see how that goes. Long ago, someone said “Oh, I know just what to do wit your hair”, and it’s never quite recovered. I suppose I really should just have it all chopped off and let it grow back, but I’ve never quite had the gumption to do so.

Wednesday was a long day. One of our core servers at work had a pair of software RAID-5 disk arrays from back when you actually made 20GB disks out of 12 2GB disks. I’d argued successfully that once these disks started to go bad, it’d be nearly impossible to replace or repair them, and that we really should be using hardware RAID devices anyway. So having acquired the hardware for this task, I’d been slowly moving files from the old devices to the new one. I was down at last to the directories that couldn’t easily be moved while the machine was up and running. I got to work at 3am, brought that machine down into single-user mode, and moved that last bit, which took about an hour, all told. Then, since I had to leave early that day for a doctors appointment, I just stayed at work. I slipped out at 7am for breakfast, and just worked until 4pm, after which I went to my doctor’s appointment and then came home and crashed.

Today was dull. After work I dropped by Borders and Barnes & Nobles in search of Tove Janssen books. I heard yesterday that she had passed away, and i realized that I had LOVED the Moomin books when I was a child, and that I no longer had any copies of them. I did manage to find one (Finn Family Moomintroll), as well as a Rocky and Bullwinkle book in the bargain books section. Borders is apparently having a blowout clearance sale, and I found a Stan Rogers CD I didn’t have (Between the Breaks Live) for 75% off. Sometimes the good guys win, eh? 🙂

And that’s the news. I’ll try and actually keep up from now on.

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