Aug 25, 2004

Something tells me I don't belong here.

I make a point of going somewhere pleasant and serene everyday some time after class is over, if only because I wish to preserve my good health. If it weren't some physically strenuous activity and a dose of natural majesty on at least a semi-daily basis, my sanity would have been lost long ago. Indeed, if it weren't for exercise--a way to sweat out my mental and emotional tensions and physical antsiness, I'd be in serious trouble. My aggressions would overcome every semblance of self-restraint, and I'd thus be acting on impulse far more often, which would surely render dire consequences. I can't be comfortable merely sitting around all day; such a lifestyle would drive me crazy. I have to get out and run around on a regular basis. It gets my heart pumping, my blood flowing, my spirit invigorated... when I start getting frustrated over too many things, the best thing I can do is go out for a run ... and run it all off.

A couple hours ago, late in the afternoon, I decided to head down to the coast. The entire scenic lookout alongside the highway was unoccupied, so I decided to spend a little time there. I hopped over the thick rock wall supposedly erected to prevent the public from tumbling over the edge of the cliff into the sea, and sat down on the grass on the other side. I had a marvelous view of downtown across the bay, and a gargantuan cruise ship was docked at the port. The atmosphere was delightfully tranquil, for twilight was not too far off, and the air had become slightly cooler, with only a slight sea breeze gracing the coast. So there I sat, thoroughly enjoying the serenity of it all for maybe ten minutes or so, then this white minivan pulls up in the parking lot behind me. I try to block it all out, but realize doing so would be impossible when I look back to see this incredibly obese middle-aged lady leaning over the wall behind me, talking in a most obnoxiously shrill voice to her only slightly thinner apparent husband. Neither of them so much as look at me or acknowledge my presence, which I didn't particularly mind, as I figured they'd be off before too long. I was wrong. I heard a sliding door open, and the unmistakably dreadful sound of a crying baby. I felt my fists clenching and my heart rate rising even before any further events transpired. I dared not look back, but did try to will them away with my mind. I mean, I really tried. It didn't work. All of a sudden, I heard the screaming little fucker right behind me. They put the fucking baby seat with the baby in it on the wall. The baby wasn't enjoying the view; he was bawling his hideous little head off. The little worthless piece of shit was born and continued to exist just to piss me off and send my homocidal tendencies right over the edge. The baby kept wailing, and neither of the two adults made -any- attempt to shut it up! Of course, they also let their little girl, the one who apparently opened the sliding door, to run around and scream at the top of her lungs as well! Damn these fucking humans who apparently have -no- courtesy for anyone else. They could have at the very least moved a little farther down the line once they noticed they had invaded my little territorial circle. Even though they never acknowledged my presence once, there is no way they couldn't have seen me. But since when do most humans have any respect for someone else's space and sense of tranquility? Not these shitheads. I wanted to grab that goddamn baby, shake it a hundred times, and throw it into the ocean, then watch both of those assholes jump in afterwards to try to save it, then drown. Instead, I simply stood up, gazed at both of the stupid adults for a few seconds, then pulled out my camera and snapped their picture. They looked at me quite queerly; almost as if they were stunned. They weren't half as stunned as I was though. ...Astonished at how rude and inconsiderate so many people can be, and not even seem to realize it. Maybe that'll give them something to think about.

I'm not afraid or ashamed to admit that I hate human babies. They're just about the most demonic, ugly, sinister thing I can think of in this world. It's not something I'm proud of either; just something I've learned to accept for truth. I've never found them adorable in the slightest. They are cacophonous, repugnant, worthless drool factories. Humans, for the most part, just make too much damn noise, and I often entertain fantasies of lining up a few hundred humans a day, and tearing out their larynxes one by one. I'd like to do whatever I can to make this world a more peaceful place to live. Today's horrible experience reminded me why I so often go out of my way to get far off the beaten path, to a place I'm quite assured no one could ever reach me. I'm not going to bother concealing how bitter I truly feel. Humans can take their noisy cars, cell phones that fold into cameras and twist into dildos, worthless screeching maggots they call babies, greasy fast food, and go straight to hell.


Later this afternoon, I wandered down to Onomea Bay, quite a bit farther away from town, and much farther from the highway. It's been one of my favorite places to simply wander about and enjoy peacefully for about a year, now. Late in the day, I never run into another soul, and yet... the place is most beautiful at that time. A narrow paved trail leads down to the wide mouth of a heavily forested gulch, and continues across a bridge and through a botanical garden, which is entirely fenced in. Just past the garden, the trail turns to gravel and dives right into a stream. Of course, one can keep their feet dry by scrambling along the bank down to the nice rocky beach and then back up the adjacent ridge. The ridge, adorned with a lone palm tree, is a magnificent place to simply sit and gaze out over the ocean for an hour or more.

I was also up for a little adventure, today. I disregarded all the "lolz no terspasing this meanz u neal!!!!!" signs posted all over the chain link fences standing between me and the botanical garden, and hopped right over the gates. There's something that appeals to me about avoiding a $25 registration fee, not to mention all the tourists who submit to paying it, enough to wait until after the garden "closes" at 5:00, then sneak in. It's a lovely little walk through the rainforest on paths fit for a king, especially around twilight when the good ol' frogs start their motors and inspire your sense of detachment from civilization with their enchanting chorus.

Oh, both the memory cards out of my old camera still work... I was extremely elated to discover that.

Seeing as I'm rather sick of looking into a computer screen, I could do some textbook reading... but I'm much more inclined just to watch a movie. Airplane! usually manages to put me in a much more light-hearted mood... there's just something about satirical comedy that's deliberately cheesy as hell that tickles my funny bone.

Taking matters into my own paws

It's rather unpleasant to wake up one day, boot up your computer, and discover that your CD-ROM drive is missing. Oh, it's there physically, but Win XP decides it'd rather have nothing to do with it, so one couldn't access a CD on it for the life of them. I abhor the process of calling up tech support, being on hold for twenty minutes, then having a technician go through with me a long list of standard troubleshooting methods that anyone who isn't completely computer illiterate has already tried. I'd rather spend two or three hours tracking down the source of the problem myself than have my intelligence insulted in such a manner. I messed with it a good deal last night. Nothing the Dell help files suggested worked. Microsoft's recommended solutions proved useless... only this morning, I ran a search on Google and happened to stumble upon a website that actually provided some useful information that didn't inherently assume the viewer had to be a moron. Microsoft probably never would have told me all I had to do was delete the Upperfilters and Lowerfilters values from HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318} to get everything working properly again. They probably just don't want most people messing with that sort of thing without geek guidance, but most people are liable to screw everything up. Well, that fixed everything for me. I don't expect anyone reading this to find any of this interesting thus far, but it does lead up to a point. Resolving such issues as these entirely on my own, even-- well, especially if it takes hours of research, trial and error, and episodes of intense frustration, is truly gratifying. Anything that validates how truly independent I like to perceive myself as... is extremely uplifting.

In retrospect, I'm astounded that I managed to cope with attending a consecutive seven and one half hours of class two days out of every week for two straight semesters, especially when I find myself getting fidgety after only two straight fifty minute class periods. Holy Arcy, how did I manage to condition my mind and body to sit on hard chairs for such a length of time on such days? I cannot help but stress once again that my furry butt just isn't designed for that kind of thing. A similar phenomenon is how I can train myself not to become annoyed by the persistent screeches of all the little kids at the preschool just down the street. A few days ago, I could barely tolerate it, and always had to have music playing to drown out the cacophonous noise, but now, I hardly notice it. The power of adaptation truly is phenomenal, and should not be taken for granted as often as it is.

Looking at the big picture, because the various pixels that comprise it are themselves usually not worth fussing over, life is good. Having no more than three hours of lecture per day works out extremely well for me. I honestly feel like an old hand at college anymore. When I was a freshman, everything was entirely chaotic, confusing, and unfamiliar, as one might imagine. Now, it all seems routine... not to sound pompous at all, but I'm starting to feel like a professional student. It seems I always know what to expect when walking into a new classroom, and my maturity has developed so that mandatory personal introductions on the first day of class no longer intimidate nor irk me. Every semester, I gain a plethora of new experience that builds on to all the experience I already have, and just recognizing this fact is extremely satisfying. Over the years, I have managed to train my mind to hardly ever wander off during a lecture, no matter how dry or dull the material is. I've even grown accustomed to the criminal textbook prices. I sure am drawing out my tenure as a student, and I believe my parents have already caught onto that fact. Fortunately, they aren't rushing me, and have no serious qualms of my not graduating in a quick four years and jumping straight into the workforce. I'm enjoying the college lifestyle too much right now, but I have a strong feeling that in another year or so, I'll become rather sick of it. Hopefully, by that time, graduation won't be much further away.

I really need to check out yard/garage sales more often. Last Saturday, my father and I decided to drive down to Waikoloa, "a village" we rarely visit because it's located in the middle of a semi-desert wasteland, and look for furniture. There were yard sales seemingly everywhere, but the first one we went to, we found a nice single bed, headboard, and plenty of sheets and blankets thrown in for a mere $75. A marvelous deal, considering the quality of the bed and headboard. We threw the bed in my old bedroom, and I took the headboard into my new apartment, where it's proven to be a valuable addition. The real score, however, was a big dark blue vinyl recliner for $40. The material shows some considerable wear, but not to the point of holes or patches... and the mechanisms work nearly good as new. It's perfect for my apartment, as well. I now understand why many people enjoy spending their Saturdays yard saling.

I have much more on my mind, but I must get ready for class. It's such a pleasant overcast day, I may just ride my bike to school today.

Aug 19, 2004


They insisted that it would take me at least a few weeks to grow accustomed to the high-pitched, cacophonous chirping of the dreaded Coqui frog. Even though I hadn't been able to identify the sound they produce before, I wasn't convinced I would be bothered by it. I was warned that they congregate in large numbers in the woodsy areas around here, where moisture and dense canopy cover is always abundant. These little frogs are barely larger than the size of my thumbnail, I was admonished, but they cause a ruckus in the evening that drive many people crazy. Well, good thing I'm not many people.

Efforts are continuously being made to eradicate this alien species from the islands. They were successful in eliminating the population up north, where I just moved from, but over here, they're out of control. As soon as twilight makes its standard slippery appearance, one hears a high-pitched "co-QUI," then another, and another, until the air is filled with distinguishably amphibious "co-QUI's." The realtor expressed more than slight aggravation over their presence, raising my concern levels a fair amount. "How bad are these frogs?" I thought. "Surely, most people must agree that they're entirely obnoxious for it to be officially classified as one of Hawaii's most obnoxious pests."

Thankfully, I was wrong. The coqui makes a most euphonious noise. I recall those evenings where I was walking across campus to my car when I heard such a pleasant double-note coming from a single individual. Admittedly, I thought it was some type of bird high up in the Chinese Banyon tree, and found its chirp delightful. And I was delighted to discover last night that such a chirp belongs to these "horrible" frogs that have caused such an uproar around these parts. They don't invade anyone's home and raid their pantry, they don't gnaw on the infrastructures of their houses, they don't destroy ecosystems, and they certainly don't spread any diseases. They simply stay in their little shady habitats and chirp. To me, they're no worse than crickets, and I find myself appreciating their presence. Without them, this entire area would be completely dominated by cacophonous anthropogenic sounds whenever silence does not prevail. They provide a constant aural backdrop that I find remarkably relaxing, and even uplifting. I'm thankful for them. I can lay back in my bed and listen to them, and slowly fall asleep imagining I'm wandering around deep in a rainforest somewhere. And people go apeshit over these things spreading to their neighborhood? As much as I try, I just can't seem to understand humans. I also appreciate birds a lot more than most people seem to, as well... I often pay close attention to their song rather than simply take them for granted. I can spend hours just watching them fly about the trees, cliffs, or buildings, or waddle about the ground in search of food or personal amusement. Such quick, graceful, aesthetically appealing movements they have... even the big fat myna birds that eat most of my dog's food then poop on our jalecies. What a freak I am.

Perhaps dogs that bark continuously for twenty hours everyday should be the foci of eradication efforts. No, their owners should be eradicated for not having the common courtesy toward their neighbors to actually make an effort to silence their stupid mutts. I've honestly concluded that I generally can't respect domesticated canines that much... not because of who or what they are, but because they inherently have entirely too much human power and influence over them. They are who they are because of humans, and being of a wild nature myself... that's not something I can respect. It's not hard for me to look at a chihuahua and conclude that such a ridiculous-looking thing must have spawned from a sick joke. I can look at certain exotic breeds of toy dogs and feel an urge to personally strangle them, before I promptly remind myself that such an abomination of canine dignity is the fault of humans, not the animal itself. Leave it to humans to turn a majestic wolf into a little panting mop named Sissy. I'd like to personally eradicate every human who treats their own dog as a novelty item. I'd like to eradicate everyone who dresses their dog up and accessorizes it and pushes it around in a stroller like a 5 year old girl would a Barbie doll. I'd like to exterminate anyone who chains their dog to a post and completely neglects it, save for using it on the occasional hunting trip. To see animals so dominated by humans, to see them be so willingly dominated, has always bothered me. To watch them roll over and submit whenever their owner raises their voice makes me feel pity for them, and even a certain degree of contempt. So many desire to have a little slice of the wild living inside their home with them... so long as it's safe and friendly! Of course, I really must keep remembering... an average pampered domesticated mutt wouldn't survive long in the wild. Let them survive on processed dog food and human affection. I know I'd never be happy that way, but so long as they are.

Hm... right now, I'm laying back diagonally on my bed by the window, with my legs bent upward and my notebook resting on my lap. It's an incredibly comfortable position. With a wireless router and wi-fi card, the Internet is transferred straight to my computer, no cables attached. The move worked out wonderfully, the bed issue notwithstanding. As the box spring of my double bed wouldn't fit in the truck, it had to be placed atop the roof rack and transported that way. We decided to go ahead and shove the upper mattress on top of that, too. It worked well until about halfway to our destination. Not long after we came down from the mountain pass and reached the windward coast, the bed was shifting all over the place above me. My father, who followed behind me in the sedan, also transporting several of my possessions, must have waved me over to the shoulder about five times or so, telling me the load needed to be adjusted before we lost it completely and killed another driver. So, that was quite stressful, but we made it to the apartment in one piece. As a result of all our screwing around, we arrived a half hour past our appointment with the landlady for the paper signing. Fortunately, she had stuck around. And just fifteen minutes after that, the Road Runner service professional showed up, ready to hook up the Internet. Good timing, I must say, and I feel it's all good karma, as well-- a sign that my occupancy of this apartment and residency in this town should work out quite well.

I've spent most of the last two days unpacking, organizing, and shopping-- and not much else. My space already appears decent-looking. I'd take pictures, but the day before I left for here, I received the unsurprising news from Minolta that my camera is "economically unrepairable." I just love deciphering such printed cryptograms. It just means that I'm going to be ordering that $399 6.0 megapixel replacement from in no time at all. Hey, I'll have six months to pay it all off, interest-free, and a digital camera is something I feel... almost naked without. I'm not dependent on one, certainly, but without one... I feel so much of my self-perceived photographic talent going to waste. Whenever I see a scene of beauty that I cannot capture-- everyday, that is, I just feel at a loss. I'm going to keep Troy II on a tight leash. No more bounding across slippery rocks in a stream unless he's wrapped tightly around my wrist. Fishing for cameras is not worth all the fishing for excuses later.

Yay for randomness, but I got my own P.O. box today at the downtown station which happens to be less than a mile from here. I treasure my privacy immensely.

This is a rather nice neighborhood, for being a $400/month apartment not far at all from downtown. It's a comfortable distance past the junky old apartments there, full of noisy residents, and it seems very safe. Car alarms are absolutely unheard of around here, and locking the front door at night is something many don't even bother to do. People in this building haven't been making too much noise at all. On one end of the street is a pre-school, where screaming little monsters can be heard in the morning. Definitely a minus, but ear plugs are usually enough to remedy the situation. And on the other end lies Dodo Mortuary, whose sign I can clearly read from the bathroom window. I want to be dead as a dodo at Dodo Mortuary!!

In conclusion... co-QUI!

Aug 14, 2004

Hey Arcy... are about as adorable as they come when you're half asleep and look so confused, you know that?

Aug 11, 2004

Anyone will tell you it's a prisoner island...

First of all, picture show and tell!

The cool, damp, grey uplifting majesty of a rainy day...

North cliffs on a stormy day...

Scenic Bike Ride 1...

Scenic Bike Ride 2...

And now, a nice list of songs I've been enjoying immensely lately (needless to say, I recommend all of them):

"On Top of the World" - Gouryella
"Popcorn" - Kraftwerk
"Feel For You" - The Mystery
"Never Never Land" - Infected Mushroom
"Satellite" - Oceanlab
"Cancer" - Filter
"Great Southern Land" - Icehouse
"Our Future" - Deep Forest
"Blue Monday" - New Order
"Ballroom Blitz" - Wayne's World Version
"Origami Moon" - Origins
"Life is Too Short" - Kai Tracid
"Nothing Left" - Orbital
"Everything's Not Lost" - Coldplay
"Big Mouth Strikes Again" - Chumbawamba
"Pop Star Kidnap" - Chumbawamba
"If it is to be, it is up to me" - Chumbawamba
"1969" - Boards of Canada
"La Femme d'Argent" - Air
"Talisman" - Air
"Still Fighting It" - Ben Folds Five
"Run" - Collective Soul
"Erase and Rewind" - The Cardigans
"All Day" - Ministry
"Natural" - DJ Jean Djaxx
"Extreme Ways" - Moby
"Rushing" - Moby
"Era (Nostalgia Mix)" - TaQ
"Wavy Gravy" - DJ Sasha

I could go on and on, but due to time constraints, I'll move ahead to further action.

I finally got around to downloading Mozilla Firefox V. 0.9, and almost immediately after using it for the first time, I concluded that Internet Explorer had better start watching its back. Not only does this browser contain a built-in pop-up blocker, an extension can be downloaded which also prevents the user from ever seeing many other types of annoying advertising, such as kangaroos hopping across the screen and other such jive. Another extension allows the user to navigate using "mouse gestures." I have it set so that drawing an imaginary "0" with my mouse while holding down the right-click button takes me back to It's a lazy, but efficient method of browsing. Being able to edit CSS in real time is another terrific feature, as is Spiderzilla, which allows me to download entire websites and all their content at once. And I just can't rave enough about how nice it is to view multiple websites in the same browser window. I imagine this browser will become quite mainstream once the first non-beta version is released... it might very well replace Explorer as -the- browser of choice. Knowing Microsoft, though, it'll probably try to outdo Mozilla by imitating them in nearly every department.

I've been spending an hour or two a day playing Starfox Adventures for Game Cube, and I must tell you, it's magnificent. It's difficult for me to get into many modern day games, as most of them unbearably boring to me, but SA is certainly an exception. I find myself strangely drawn to some of the characters, namely the male fox aptly named Fox (whom I currently control), and the female fox named Krystal. To simply navigate this handsome, adorable furry around is a pleasure in itself, but the realms we explore... my goodness, they are nothing short of breathtaking. The streams, waterfalls, trees, mountains, animals, and dinosaurs are all so perfectly rendered they almost look real. I spend much of my time just wandering around admiring the visuals, imagining I'm lost in this majestic world. I truly do feel captivated by it more times than not. The sun regularly rises and sets, leaving me free to wander about the night and gaze up at the stars until dawn reawakens. Then, there's the unexpected cloudbursts... sudden rainstorms sweep over the realm, and to gaze up at the lightning show is nothing short of spectacular. This game is more than a game for me, really... it's a separate world I can escape to. It inspires my imagination more than any video game has in a long, long time. And I'm told I have yet to get to best parts of the game... ahhh.

I watched [i]Who Wants to be a Millionaire?[/i] the other day, the first time since arriving back home, and I was reminded of something I've always found perplexing. How is it that when a contestant in the hot seat uses his or her 'phone a friend' lifeline, their friend/relative always answers on the first ring? How many people are likely to pick up on the first ring, or even be available? I wish the scant few I try to get ahold of by telephone would always pick up on the first ring. With Millionaire, it always works so flawlessly. Well, I suppose it should. Imagine Regis or what's-her-name sitting around staring at the contestant while the phone continues to ring for a few minutes... that would place an awful lot of pressure on the contestant, certainly, and qualify as empty air time. "Pick up, damn you!" Obviously, it's all pre-arranged, which makes me wonder about the entire show. I can most easily deduce that they don't actually call anyone at all, and "their friends at AT&T" probably connect to someone backstage hired to be that contestant's "friend." You just can't expect me to believe that every contestant always reaches some random friend of theirs on the very first ring. Of course, there's reality TV, which is an oxymoron if I ever heard one. There is reality, and there is television, but there is no reality television. Anything can happen in reality; the conditions are not controlled in any shape or form, whereas television is staged. They wouldn't let anyone on Survivor starve to death or die of dysentery. In reality, people don't follow you around everywhere with microphones and cameras or vote you off the island because you came in last place on the beach bamboo-jabbing competition. That's why reality television is something I will probably never come to appreciate. It's nearly as phony as a movie on the Sci-Fi channel, and it has the nerve to label itself "reality programming."

We purchased a new notebook computer, a Dell Inspiron 1000– for the family, my father reasoned, though I'll be the primary user of it as I take it off to school with me. At a little under $900, its processor speed is more than twice as fast as my four year old computer's. So much more enjoyable is riding the wave of technology than ending up stuck in the trough. It's not a replacement for my desktop, but a decent computer I can take into my apartment, as well as essentially anywhere I choose. It'll probably be a convenient tool to take to classes where heavy note-taking may be required, and certainly to the library, where I may want to set aside a few hours for studying before exams. I'm sure it would do well at Borders as well, when I wish to do research in a little more enjoyable place. I can leave this big, clunky computer desk and desktop here, and take advantage of something much more sleek and portable. The current moving out date is August 22. Seeing as I'm only moving to the opposite coast, I needn't take too many possessions with me. Ideally, I'll have my computer and high-speed Internet soon after I get there, but I've learned not to expect too much. I'm not dependent on technology to get me by, thankfully. In high school, I never thought I'd say this, but I'm entirely excited about starting my new semester.

Hm... in just a few minutes, my father and I are going to make the hour and ten minute drive up to the Mauna Kea Visitor Center. At approximately 9,000 feet elevation or so, and far, far away from any lights at all, it's a great place to view the sky. Professional and amateur astronomers alike are going to have colossal telescopes set up all over the place, and there's going to be plenty of free hot chocolate. The August meteor shower is truly a sight to behold in a place like this... I wandered off into the pasture behind the house last night and laid back against the grass, and witnessed maybe 50 meteors in a matter of twenty minutes. Some left brilliant trails of light which only completely faded away after several seconds. B-e-a-utiful. So, this little excursion should be fun, even though we may not make it back home until 6 or 7 in the morning, or later. I don't have to be anywhere tomorrow, so all is well. I should enjoy the remainder of my vacation while it's still here.

Aug 6, 2004

Sorry, computer, you'll have to sleep outside tonight

Peculiar how things work sometimes. I just today received notification from my realtor that the apartment owner does not allow desktop computers in his places. Laptop computers are okay, desktop computers are not. Curious as I am, something tells me I don't even want to know the reason why. It all smells like a big steamy pile to me, especially since they'd wait this long to notify me of such an absurd restriction. This is just after they told me I'd have to move downstairs due to a "cracked toilet." As far as this apartment I've had my sights set on is concerned, all signs point to N-O. Coincidentally, my mother's boss at the restaurant, aware of my quest for a domicile, informed her that she was renting houses just a mile or two out of town, and that one of the tenants was leaving. No word on how much it would cost per month yet, but having my own house seems appealing to me. Maybe the odds are going to end up completely in my favor– from a slimy, flooded basement of a nut house to the junky rear of an antique shop on a busy street to an adequate upstairs studio apartment where desktop computers aren't allowed to a house in the hills. Maybe not. What remains true either way is that it's nice to have connections ... and fascinating to sit back and analyze the ways karma and chance are connected. The best I can do is proceed with the attitude that what is meant to happen will happen. Maybe I won't even make it into school this semester, and maybe that will be for the better. I'm definitely looking forward to my courses, though.

I don't feel like typing much else, but I've been burning a lot of incense lately, ever since I discovered the wicca store (I'm telling you, this region gets stranger and stranger) down the hill which sells 75 different varieties of it (vanilla moonlight is my favorite), and I want this. "Satellite" by Oceanlab is a deeply meaningful and delightful morsel of euphony I can dance to beneath my strobe light, and I need a microwave. Oh, and one more thing: elves are overrated, and I want to send a throwing knife straight through Legolas's jugular.


Aug 4, 2004

Keep chasing the butterfly...

While out wandering along the coastal cliffs yesterday beneath a lovely overcast sky, I discovered an envelope lying on the ground. Curiousity aroused, I stooped down to pick it up, and discovered it was a refund check addressed to a Michael H. Gomes. I recognized the name immediately, not only because he's the brother of the esteemed guitar maker who lives just up there road from here, but also the owner of a several thousand acres of private land in this region. I heard he's not the most friendly gentleman for trespassers to run into, and I knew that white SUV I passed on the way down the gated road had to belong to someone who had "connections." I quickly concluded that he must have just lost it, seeing as the envelope was entirely dry and clean when the rain had been pouring down just hours earlier, and I had not noticed it before on my way down. I suppose it would be good karma to place it in the local mail drop box at the post office, and that's exactly what I'm going to do. ...After I tape it shut, of course. The envelope had been ripped open on the side and marked with arithmatical computations.

So, I've been spending the past hour or so trying to get rid of this spyware application that magically appeared on my computer, called "QuickSearchBar." It replaces my browser's home page with a page full of useless links. Pretty much the standard, anymore. Of course, going into my Internet settings and entering my old home page address into the field does no good. The next time I start up my browser, I get the "about:blank" link directory again. You can't just go into Program Files and delete the .dll file manually, no. You have to go into Add/Remove Programs and uninstall it. And then you have to run AdAware and exterminate the registry entries But that's not all! You have to find a program called "CWShredder.exe" and scan your entire drive again. Then, and only then, might you finally reach salvation! I had to repeat these processes several times in varying orders to finally eliminate the problem.

If some bastard of a spyware application is altering your Internet settings, popping up search toolbars at random times, changing your browser's startup page routinely, don't just deal with it. Blast the hell out of it, no matter how much effort it takes to do so. If only for me, please. Don't help generate revenue for some malicious cocksucker at your own inconvenience and frustration. I've downloaded Spybot Search & Destroy, a free, top-rated spyware killer, which made a back-up of my registry and immunized my system from 1944 bad products. So, I have two spyware killers, increasing my chances of sweeping all the unsolicited junk off my drive. These things are practically a necessity, these days. I'm also getting the Google search bar, since it contains a pop-up killer.

I read in the newspaper that a few beaches on west Hawaii are being "improved." Yes, the access road to a classical favorite beach of our family, a traditional beach for us to go, is being paved. A parking lot is being constructed, with a wheelchair accessible ramp leading right down to a new pavilion overlooking the beach. A public restroom facility is being built. Trees are being cut down to "improve the view." Now, little old ladies can scoot right up to the shore in their electric wheelchairs. A few miles down the road, another once-favorite beach of ours is undergoing a similar "improvement." Pretty soon, they'll both be crawling with fat, white tourists who couldn't bear a five minute hike. This makes me feel all the less reluctant to be moving to the east coast, which is remarkably unspoilt and incredibly gorgeous. Sure, our west coast has most of the stereotypically beautiful pure white sand palm tree-lined beaches, but the east coast is more my kind of beauty– rough, rugged, rainforested, and hence absolutely uncrowded.

I experienced quite an interesting dream involving school, last night. I dreamt I was part of a small group having glass in a dark trailer parked out in the middle of the field, with an animated instructor educating us all on Iraq's finest brands of cream soda by passing around samples from Venice Beach. Of course, the eerie piano soundtrack, typical of all my dreams, played faintly in the background. I'm not certain why it is I have so many dreams involving school– not college, but high school. ...An abysmal era of my life that I have long moved on from, and am very grateful not to have to repeat in this lifetime. I miss high school like I miss the wart on the base of my middle finger. Yet, it very much seems to be occupy my sub-conscious to a substantial degree. Perhaps that's because high school substantially affected me and shaped who I am. Yes, that's probably it. I may never forget high school, and the overly tender years of my life in which I was forced to endure it.

I know I've written on high school before, many times. School is a subject I feel rather passionately about and possess strong opinions on. When my train of thought tends to chug on without a caboose, I often end up thinking of school ... as an institution. I think about how I attended public school for twelve long years, twelve years of a childhood that only properly lasts eighteen, and wonder why the fuck I did it. Why the fuck did I waste twelve years of my childhood in a goddamn classroom? Because it's required by law, of course. Because my parents wanted me to be law-abiding citizens, and get me an education. And get me friends. And get me out of the house for long enough to retain their own sanity. Because I was an impressionable child who for the most part did what he was told. Who wanted to please his parents. Who felt he had no other choice but to attend school everyday. Who felt he had to get decent grades or suffer a life of pain, punishment, and misery. Who went to school and suffered pain, punishment, and misery, but learned how to write, add, and ignore bullies. Who was told repeatedly that if he didn't succeed in school, he would never succeed in real life. Who was told that the real world is a whole new ballgame, and that in comparison, school is the easiest of easy streets. Who was told that if he didn't persevere and make it through school, he would be a nobody his entire life. Who became so depressed he no longer felt much will to live because he was flunking chemistry and algebra II, and was convinced if he failed those courses, he would be a failure forever. Who positively loathed getting up at the same time in the morning, every single day for five days a week, to attend the same classes at the exact same times with the exact same people in the exact same building. Who discovered that such barely sufferable repetition was specifically designed to dull his brain and sap the livelihood right out of him, so he'd be an obedient little drone who would always turn his homework in on time and serve society without complaint. Who honestly believed that life would only go downhill from high school because all signs given to him pointed to yes. Who was told he should enjoy high school and find it a joyous experience because it's the best time of one's life. Who believed it as he observed so many of his peers having a great time on the days they actually bothered to come to school. Who couldn't bring himself to enjoy school in the slightest, and thus believed his entire life would only get shittier than it already was. Who watched the clock for several minutes at a time everyday, particularly in last period, waiting for the freedom bell to sound so he could finally slip free from his chains. Who stared blankly at the blindingly bright white intellectually unstimulating worksheets handed out to keep the students busy while the teacher drank coffee and read his Elmore Leonard novel. Who thought deeply to himself whenever he wasn't spacing out in mind-numbing boredom and fidgety, sore-buttocks-discomfort, and barely validated the existence of anyone else around him. Who was heavily provoked by those around him for not validating their existence. Who read from textbooks dry as a pile of bones in Death Valley and marked up like a ghetto-Brooklyn brick wall. Who answered countless questions that challenged not his mind but his ability to scan through his text to find the answer in black and white. Who was so often asked to write creative entries in a literature class whose students and teachers inspired him about as much as an earwig. Who was hit on by a gay Japanese teacher because he said "arigato" in a femine way. Who was referred to a counselor in 7th grade who tried to "adjust" him because the teachers found his quietness a sign of an emotional disturbance. Who was greatly emotionally disturbed by his counselor trying to get him together with individuals he thought he should be friends with. Who had his mother ensure the counselor that all was right as rain in Nealy's world. Who always preferred to walk home three miles in the wind and rain than board a crowded school bus. Who would look out the window during his first few days of first grade and see the sweet Oregon rain begin to fall. Who would break out of his chair and rush to that window, only to be peeled off of it like a poster and caned back to his seat by his teacher. Who had a principal in first grade nicknamed "Mr. Wildfang." Who got in trouble for following a trail behind the gym down to the river at recess. Who was scolded by his third grade teacher for responding to a question that asked what your favorite part of school is with "hearing the final bell in the afternoon." Who went straight from a rural Oregon school with 150 total students to a large school in Hawaii with 2300 students. Who attended five different public schools from first to fifth grade. Who never had human friends as a child. Whose canine best friends made him aspire to live the life of a dog. Who took off into the wilderness and emulated canine behavior whenever he could. Who found incredible inspiration and reassurance in the many meaningful messages of Calvin and Hobbes. Who realized how similar he was to Calvin in so many ways, and how Calvin universalizes so many other kids' perspectives on school. Who read his brother's senior quote in the 1997 yearbook which said, "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." Who realized as soon as he entered 9th grade that his popular brother had turned half the senior class against him through blatant lies. Who ended up disspelling myth after myth of what he truly was. Who witnessed his brother nearly get suspended for a week for bringing a keychain pocketknife to school. Who was told a teacher reported his brother for wearing a t-shirt that said "fuck" all over it to class. Who scraped by year after year with his imagination and strong will alone. Who spent most physical education class periods sitting on the bleachers and doodling in his notebook and getting A's anyway. Who sat through health class listening to his teacher call out numbers instead of names, and forgetting the number he was supposed to be. Who spent an entire semester in zoology class peeling flesh from formaldehyde-soaked cats, being thankful his specimen wasn't among those that had acquired maggots over spring break. Who killed time in art class coloring in circles and squares with acrylic paint and drawing perfect diagrams of compact discs with a compass. Who learned how to properly use a broom when sweeping an industrial shop area in woods class. Who witnessed first-hand what a baby pig's bloody testicles look like in farm. Who learned how to prevent slip and falls in the kitchen as he prepared gourmet quesadillas in home economics. Who learned how to type like a true veteran in Keyboarding I by keying the same phrase a hundred times on a 1970's apple computer. Who dropped his pencil and lined up single-file along with everyone else whenever the fire drill bell sounded. Who covered his head and hid under the desk just as instructed to do whenever a standard volcanic earthquake produced the slightest tremor. Who was conned into flipping a light switch in the gymnasium, which actually turned out to be the scoreboard buzzer switch, and was thus punished for such disruptive behavior by having to sweep the stage. Who was discriminated against on several instances on the basis of skin color. Who had to use office bathroom because all the regular student bathrooms were engulfed in clouds of tobacco smoke. Who dealt with a security lady who had a crew cut and behaved like a male Marine drill sergeant. Who had a lesbian P.E. teacher who graded her students on how happy they seemed to be in her class. Who had a class for an entire year where he did nothing but rake rocks around and grow zucchini. Who had a principal with the last name "Bratt" and who looked like a female version of Jabba the Hutt. Who had his mother as a kindergarten teacher at the same school, and who was quickly notified of any deviant act he tried to pull. Who studied for SAT's, those little tests whose scores determine how successful you'll be for the rest of your life. Who was encouraged to join myriad extracurricular activities he'd never enjoy to impress colleges like Harvard and Yale, which he'd never attend. Who was told that anything was possible if he dreamt big. Who dreamt big about things he knew would never become possible. Who was guided by a guidance counselor who guided him nowhere but farther down a downward spiral. Who was nearly conned into joining the army due to his own naivete. Who spent every recess swinging on the swing set until swings were deemed unsafe because someone slipped off one and sprained his pinkie, and were thus taken away. Who then spent every recess playing ping pong in the gym until the last ping pong ball was crushed and the state couldn't afford any balls and students weren't allowed to bring their own and the tables were hence folded up and stowed. Who never took part in the prom and couldn't fathom the meaning behind such a seemingly ridiculous tradition. Who for two weeks in his junior year became involved with an insane female named Camille who later stalked him and sent her entirely imbecilic hired henchmen to supposedly murder him. Who spent every recess in the computer lab playing video games until video games were banned. Who then spent every recess in the library reading magazines until magazines were banned. Who then spent every recess listening to a CD player in a quiet corner in the shade until CD players in any corner of campus were banned. Who attended school on days where the electric was out for the entire day and the teachers had to hand out worksheets designed for kindergartners because they couldn't turn on their TV's to show them 30 year-old videos on proper nutrition for gerbils and handy Spanish phrases to use in Mexican quilt shops. Who was expected to perform mandatory cafeteria duty once a month, which served as extracurricular training for life as a janitor, and earned him a free meal he didn't eat. Who was sent to a mock prison across campus for a day for refusing to serve meat to students in the cafeteria. Who wore a stupid hat and apron and served peaches in the cafeteria for three hours to every grade in the school instead. Who always brought a bag lunch to school and was criticized for it by all the other students who brought the revolting processed school lunches. Who couldn't bear to eat inside the cafeteria in the company of two dozen loudmouths at his table stuffing processed pig entrails into their faces. Who stopped eating lunch at school altogether when eating lunch outside was banned due to many students littering the campus. Who memorized countless trivial facts just so he could pass a test and forgot them immediately after he was required to loudly gobble like a turkey in the annual Thanksgiving pep rally's class spirit yell. Who skipped half the pep rallies he was expected to attend by dashing off into the woods and laying back on the leaves in perfect silence, listening to the sweet euphony of birdsong while eating the tangerines he just picked from wild tropical trees, reveling in the quiescent solitude and natural beauty as opposed to four hundred noisy buffoons yelling at the top of their lungs as instructed so they'd get certificates for free McDonald's hamburgers next week. Who strove to remind himself of what was actually worth living for. Who dreamt of a life where he could roam free all day long, away from all the students and faculty he so abhorred. Who discovered the magic of Internet communities in the 11th grade, and made distant friends which saved him from himself and those around him in the nick of time. Who picked up his diploma with a blank expression on his face, entirely unaware he'd be watering piles of sand with garden hoses for two months in the matter of a week, as a parent-directed introduction to the "real world." Who eventually wondered how much more enjoyable his childhood would have been if he had been spared of institutionalization. Who only realized what a joke high school was after high school, when such a realization no longer counted for as much but counted for something. Who came to understand that after sixth grade, school prepared him for a life in a correctional facility more than anything else. Who knew that in his possible next lifetime, given any subconscious memory of his previous one, he would insist upon home-schooling when he was six years old.

Ah, school. I'm so thankful they were all just lying to us. College is so much better. I love university. I hated high school. Life has improved drastically. I'm so proud of me for never allowing them to institutionalize me into a complete nitwit who subscribes to groupthink at every fork instead of thinking for himself.

Aug 1, 2004

To live a dream is a dream come true

'Twas the morning after the full moon's eve, and a few field mice were stirring. Ever aware of their meager hierarchical position on the food chain, they cleared a path for the wolvenspirit, who bounded lightly through the lush green grass in search of– not mice, but release. He had just climbed over the barbed wire fence running parallel to the tree-lined mountain road, pausing a few seconds afterwards only to listen to the familiar, euphonious sound of the heavy breeze sweeping through the ironwood leaves. It could greatly be likened to the sound of the sea, only so much lighter and more peaceful. Only this sound, and perhaps the ocean waves quietly setting down upon a desolate beach's sandy shores, could possibly be used to define his spirit in a state of complete contentedness. When he noticed with his refined sense of vision approaching headlights, he quickly bolted up the grassy slope, away from the road. The rise was steep, and the air much thinner than what his body was acclimated to, so he quickly found himself out of breath. The car passed, the driver undoubtedly oblivious to the presence of anyone out there besides the ancient whispering spirits that roamed these mountains. As he relaxed his pace and continued uphill in a much more quiescent manner, striding parallel to an electric fence, he could hear them. Soft, low voices, words indiscernable. Many residents found them scary, and would not consider wandering this mountain in the evening, but he considered them quite soothing. He could have been hearing things, such as the faint, eerie whooshing noise of the windmills not far away, but he preferred to imagine that ancient Hawaiian spirits were keeping him company as his bare feet swept through the lush, verdant grass. The wind rolled down the mountain slope quite forcefully, challenging him to continue upward against the sheer intensity of its gusts. He persevered, however, knowing that only the cold, driving rain that typically reigned upon this region might convince him to back down, and the sky this morning was clear as a diamond. And the moonlight, oh, it was resplendent enough to safely drive by without headlights, barring other inattentive drivers on the road.

He passed closely by Kahua Ranch, a tiny mountain locale featuring a hydroponics facility, windmill farm, and a few residences and stables nestled amongst a grove of ironwood trees. Farther up the mountain, his destination came into view– the old FAA station placed in a lofty location. Nothing would fulfill his morning's wander more than reaching that zenith. And nothing would stop him. He followed no roads, but when encountering formidable electric fences imposing upon his continuance, he usually came upon gated by-ways after only a few seconds of searching. As he passed the ranch, he settled into a rhythm, allowing the beauty to permeate through his skin and into his spirit. The cold, soft grass felt remarkable upon the undersides of his feet, and the winds rustling his mane felt truly invigorating. His heart was beating at a rapid pace, ready to spring out of his chest and soak the silvery green grass with its beautiful scarlet red, the majestic color of strength and vitality.

After shifting directions to follow the contour of the mountain, he encountered several fences, which he either climbed over or rolled beneath. As he proceeded forward along the pasture, little did he expect to encounter a large group of equinefolk, about thirty or forty long-faced creatures. Every last one of them ceased their resting and grazing to quietly observe his movements. He slowed, observing them in return, gazing into as many large, round eyes as he could to communicate that he meant no harm. They seemed hardly intimidated, for many begin to approach him in standard graceful equine fashion. Never had he been afraid of horses, and never had horses been afraid of him. He always found their beauty and grace greatly worth of admiration and emulation. Silently, he moved in amongst the crowd, now more or less surrounded by creatures several times his body weight, and not minding at all. One horse stood apart from the pack, looking in, and she did not move away as the odd wanderer approached her. She was exceptionally gorgeous, the way her sleek coat sheened in the moonlight with seemingly more luminance than anyone else, with the physical form and aura of pride and dignity of a show horse. As she investigated his outstretched paw with her nose, he wished he had an edible treat to offer her. A simple scritch on the mane had to suffice. As he enjoyed their calm, quiet company, he began to envy their lifestyle. Here, perfectly at home upon this quiet hillside, with an astonishing view down the mountain all the way to the sea, feasting on damp, green grass all day. No busy agenda, no schedule book to maintain, no alarm clock to wake up to. How on Earth could humanity think it's actually superior to all other species?

Slowly, he broke away from the crowd, wishing dawn would procrastinate her own arrival for a few hours so he could linger about. The crowd began to follow him, stopping when he stopped, proceeding when he proceeded. He led them all the way to another electric fence, which he slipped under, and left them behind. Of course, he promised to visit them once more on his way back. His destination suddenly appeared much closer as he continued along the contour, not pausing until he reached the paved one-lane road which wound up to the very top. Of course, hard asphalt was not nearly so friendly to his feet, so he remained on the grass, following parallel to the steep road. It curved up behind the hill and met up with the barb wire-garnished chain link fence which surrounded the facility. Before he could celebrate reaching the apex, he had to shield his sensitive eyes from the bright amber security light affixed to one of the buildings. He steered away from the unwelcome distraction and set down on the other side, his legs dangling over the hill which plummted down onto the steep road he had just climbed, trying to make sense of all the majesty before him.

Glancing back down the mountain, he could easily see the ranch from which the road originated, lively as a forgotten cemetery with crumbling tombstones. Everyone was surely asleep, dreaming, perhaps, of liberation from the monotony of daily routine, or the unadventurous life. This inspirited wanderer dreamt of a beautiful moonlit morning, where the clock had only struck 2 a.m., or at least he reckoned. A place where he could see across rolling grassy hills down to the ocean from 5000 feet. A place where he could see the moonlight's expansive, silvery-white reflection upon the ocean. The only way to tell apart the void of the ocean from the void of the sky was to gaze at the brilliant reflection upon the water's surface, which immediately halted at the horizon. A narrow band of swiftly moving clouds spread before him, and so much farther in the distance burned the lights of the various coastal resorts. It all seemed so spectacularly far away, as if he was sitting somewhere up in heaven partaking of such a scene. He was truly even with the clouds, and his spirit felt as if it was sitting upon one. The scene of a dream. Could this possibly be reality, the same reality that so many lament and comfort themselves by reminding they'll someday escape from, or was he just dreaming it? If only... if only he could take photographs of scenes from his dreams.

The tower rose up mightily into the regal night sky above every tree and the nagging amber light, its queer-looking white sphere set aglow by the moon. Hardly complete would the night be if I did not opt to follow the winding steel staircase that led to the very top. Climbing over the chain link fence proved to be hardly challenging enough for a seasoned intruder, and the chain link gate that impeded access at the foot of the staircase was easily scaled. The wind became much stronger the higher he climbed, until it finally became so strong he could only maintain his balance by hanging onto the round steel railing or leaning into it diagonally. On the second to final set of stairs, he was forced to hold on tightly to the railing, for concern of being blown backwards. So is the nature of trade winds at such elevations. They blow along thousands of miles of ocean, entirely unobstructed for the entire duration, and when they finally hit a land mass at such an elevation, they hit with some force. He could feel the tower shaking, even swaying slightly as he reached the giant sphere's padlocked bottom door, upon which was posted a warning sign Just beneath the door, the wind blew with considerably less force, so he settled down to rest and partake of the panoramic view. So far away down the peninsula seemed the lights of his town, across miles and miles of darkness and wild. The stream of clouds to the west moved along with mesmorizing rapidity, simply dissolving before him as they reached warmer temperatures. His mind recalled the first time he had ventured up here, so many years ago, at a time he felt he had to choose between a release into the wild or a hole in his body. What a magical experience it was, one that forever inspired his fascination and love for the night. One of the earliest experiences that made him realize who he truly was.

The wolvenspirit stayed up there for another half hour or so, quietly reflecting and recollecting, until he lost interest in enduring the wind's incessant barrage. Slowly, he made his way back down the steps, and crossed back over the gate and perimeter fence. No headlights were approaching from any direction. Nothing would have dared desecrate such a surreal dreamscape, at least, in his mind. As 4 a.m. approached, he decided to wander back down, the wind at his back, guiding him home. He congregated with the horses again for awhile, properly saying farewell to each of them. As he ambled back down the hill, he glanced back up several times, noticing a heavy blanket of clouds beginning to set in behind the mountain. It seemed to take no more than a few minutes to reach the highway, but he seemed not content to go back home just yet. On the opposite side stood an iron gate, beyond which another rolling, grassy hill rose up into the sky. Over the gate he climbed, then set out upon a narrow dirt road twisting about the pasture. It led through another electric fence and by chance, up the hillside. He did not expect to encounter a cinder quarry, at the bottom of which someone has set up a firing range with wooden frames and large rubber tires as targets. Amazing how one can live in a place for years, and not be aware of so much that lies just beyond their backyard. Proceeding beyond to the crest of the hill, he reacquired his view of the moonlight reflecting upon the ocean, which had become all the more intense with the passage of time. He happened upon a cement slab housing a geological survey marker, and sat down, thoroughly awe-stricken by the scene's mesmorizing beauty. Behind him, a bright planet hovered above the hills he had left behind, and the royal blue sky gradually lightened in color. Dawn was approaching ... approaching all too quickly. He continued to sit, simply staring at the moon until it became obscured by clouds, then shifting his gaze downward to its reflection upon the sea. The majesty of the landscape was almost too much for him to fathom. Finally, he picked himself up and headed back, gazing back up the hill at the tower he had climbed seemingly so long ago. Behind him, the clouds lifted slightly, revealing the moon once again in dawn's earliest light. The heavens told him that he would never forget this early August morning. Never for the life of him.