.journal 2001.02.04
I can't sleep, so come suffer with me.

Now listening to: Narada Mystique Sampler One
Now reading: Poppy Z. Brite, Exquisite Corpse
Now playing: Final Fantasy VIII (Playstation)

Well, it's 02h30 in the morning and there is just no hope whatsoever that this sinus headache is going to allow me to get anything even remotely resembling sleep. And it's another hour and a half before I can take my favourite concoction of the past few days, Absopure water mixed with Tylenol and Sudafed. So since I shall have to suffer until then, I figured I might as well share my suffering with you. I'm just that kind of person, what can I say. So up goes the new age music (at a low volume), up comes this site and I'm sure I'll say some things here that won't be all that coherent and that will probably sound kinda stupid when I look back at them later with a properly medicated head. But hey, that's not far off from the way these journal entries normally go.

And it's not like this flu bug hasn't already bitten me in the butt in terms of this site. In case you missed it, I did a journal entry for the 29th of last month that ended up getting deleted thanks to the combination of a bad Internet connection and the vagaries of FrontPage when I updated again on the 31st. I had half a mind to rewrite the entire journal entry from scratch and just put it back up in its old slot, but it was mostly another one of those "here's what I bought when I last went to Media Play" entries and really wasn't anything special enough to warrant that sort of effort.

But I figure I should repost the salient points from that entry, so here goes: firstly, I made up with the friend with whom I'd had that falling out last month. What it had boiled down to was that I'd said some stuff in a joking-around fashion that she had taken more seriously than I had anticipated. It had made me think about myself a bit, because I have a reputation for being very thin-skinned, and that's something that I guess I was trying to overcome in my recovery. This incident made me rethink that, though, and I don't think being thin-skinned is necessarily something that needs to be overcome. To quote Jewel, "Please be careful with me, I'm sensitive and I'd like to stay that way."

Secondly, one of the more intriguing purchases I made at Media Play was RPG Maker, because I was interested in the quasi-programming experience it provided for me to create my own role-playing game. As I anticipated, my ambitions far outstripped the game's abilities not long after I opened the box, but I've stuck with it a bit and worked my idea out some more, and I think I'll continue using RPG Maker to flesh my ideas out, and then perhaps try programming my game into Visual C++ and porting it to XBox using Microsoft's free development package for doing just that.

And my thinking about programming led me back to my whole work vs. school debate, and I began reading up on computer industry certifications and began to question their value as an adjunct to taking the work opportunity, in terms of keeping my brain engaged and strengthening my resume. That debate is still way up in the air, of course, but certification is another interesting x-factor in this whole jumble. Rest assured, I won't be making any decisions in that field until my head stops feeling like it's trying to implode.

There were some other small points I made, such as how Oh My Goddess! finally broke away from the original Bubblegum Crisis and Armitage III to become my favourite anime title and how I got the Yoga Zone Beginners' Boxed Set (hence my yoga references in the last journal update), but nothing else was too critical. Aside from hashing things out with my friend and the whole certification thing, it was really a bunch of trivial stuff, not so trivial that I couldn't make a journal update out of it but trivial enough that I'm not going to rewrite the whole thing after losing it once. So there you go. Hope it wasn't too confusing living in reverse time there.

You know, a while back I thought about doing some customer reviews on Amazon.com's site, just because I have such a big mouth and can't seem to stop opining on every little thing, but I decided not to because I'm generally trying to shy away from "Internet discussion forums" like that right now. One of the things I've learned this past year is that forums like that tend to attract the lowest common denominator, and there really is no effective way to shut people like that up, because even though these people tend to hail from the shallowest end of the gene pool, with just a little persistence even they can defeat the system and vent their pestilent spleens all over the place no matter what steps you take to shut them up. I am still active in a few forums, but only very small and obscure ones where only my friends can find me.

So you can imagine my joy when I was notified that I have not one, but two lowest common denominators impersonating me on Amazon.com. As if my headache wasn't bad enough already. It seems that even when I run away as fast as I can from bad situations, they still cling to my heels like leeches and try to suck whatever blood they can out of me. It's tempting to say "I'd like to know what I did to deserve this," but I know that for lowest common denominators there generally is no purpose to them acting like such jerks; they're just jerks (I'm trying to avoid use of more colourful language with my head in the state it's in) and that's all there is to it. My only crime was in subjecting myself to their abuse for so long, and in my defense I didn't know any better at the time. Thank Goddess I figured that one out eventually.

I guess I didn't figure it out soon enough, though, because those jerks did end up ruining what had been a sizable chunk of my life up until I took my leave of them. Thankfully it wasn't that important a part of my life (at least now that I'm getting my priorities straight and only concentrating on the things that really bring me pleasure), but still and all that kind of thing does damage you, when a group of people can take something that was at least of some interest to you, and turn it into something which becomes only a source of pain. But I'm moving on, and as I said I think now I'm making much better use of my time than I was before. I only wish I could say the same for the jerks who continue to hound me despite my following their every request by leaving their world. (Well, some of them also begged me to kill myself, but I think that request is just a bit unreasonable on their part.)

And it's funny, because something which had disappeared from my life for a good time has now come back in, thanks to my recent ruminations about computers and certifications: TechTV.

TechTV was formerly known as ZDTV, the first 24-hour network dedicated to computers, the Internet and technology. DirecTV picked up the network shortly after its birth in the middle of 1999, and I pretty much fell in love with it on the spot. Now, keep in mind this was before me getting back in touch with L. and undergoing my creative recovery, so my priorities were really skewed, but all things being equal I was in the nascence of launching my own Website development company, and I needed all the computer and Internet news, reviews, coverage and content I could get my eyes and ears on.

ZDTV became my default network to turn to when there wasn't anything else on DirecTV that caught my attention, and I even worked in their chat rooms on some nights in an official capacity, earning some swank merchandise (which has undoubtedly shot up in value since the network changed names) and a line to my resume. I even cared enough about the site to create my own silly little fansite for my favourite show on the network, The Screen Savers, a live hourly call-in show devoted to more advanced computing topics, how-tos, repair and general silliness.

Unfortunately, last year changes on The Screen Savers ended up bumming me out to the point where I just stopped watching the network one day and didn't tune back in for several months. The original hosts of The Screen Savers were Leo Laporte and Kate Botello, and to me and many others they were the heart and soul of the network. The Screen Savers has consistently been the network's highest rated show since its inception, and looking back on the days of Kate and Leo it was easy to see why: the two quickly established a great reparteť with each other, and were able to bring very technical information to people in a format that they could digest. Were it not for them, I never would have been crazy enough to try installing Linux on my computers (although in point of actual fact I only succeeded in doing so last week).

What happened that really disappointed me was that Kate Botello left the show in order to move on to their video gaming show, and that really killed the spirit of the network. In a way I could understand Kate's decision to leave because she never really seemed at ease doing live television -- her hands were always trembling whenever they were shot in close-up, even after well over a year of doing the show -- but Kate and Leo, and the chemistry they had, were the soul of the network, and she was simply irreplaceable. Not that I have anything bad to say about her successor, Patrick Norton -- actually I'm trying to say as little negative about TechTV as I possibly can, given that I'm trying to help an acquaintance get a job there -- but he simply isn't Kate, and nobody can hope to fill the shoes she left behind.

And I can't say as I quite care for where Kate landed, TechTV's video gaming show, Gamespot TV, has never been my favourite show on the network. Again, I don't want to badmouth TechTV, but their video game coverage has irked me from day one. For one thing, Gamespot TV has always had too much of a focus on PC gaming and not console gaming, and as a result console gaming usually gets about ten minutes of coverage a week on the network, which is far too little. And watching Kate's first efforts on the show, it was obvious that she didn't have too much knowledge about consoles, and really only knew PC gaming. What really drives me mad, though, is that while the network was still associated with publisher Ziff-Davis (the ZD in ZDTV), they had access to far and away the best console gaming magazine ever created, Electronic Gaming Monthly, and yet they made such sporadic use of that wonderful tie you never would have known they had such a resource at their disposal.

But I guess sometime last week thinking about computers and certification and all that, I ended up flipping onto TechTV, and now I've gotten back in the habit of watching it. Kate's learned a lot about console gaming since I last saw her, but Gamespot TV's coverage of consoles is still far too lacking. For the most part the shows I liked are still as I left them, and the shows I didn't care too much for I still find tolerable enough to leave on while I work on my computer. My love affair with the network will never be what it once was, but the network is still useful to what I want to do, and entertaining enough to keep me engaged. And unless there's a Red Wings game on, it's not like I have anything better to do with my weeknights than to watch The Screen Savers.

I don't know where this whole computer thing is going to take me, though, whether it be to a new job, back to school or what have you. I realize I'm not exactly putting on a happy face when I talk about my internal struggles like this, but it's what's going on in my life and it's what I feel like writing about. And that's all that really counts in the end.

To go back to the jerks I was talking about earlier, I guess part of what really bothered me about the situation I was in, and part of what I'm coming to grips with in my writing here on this site, was the act I had to put on while I was in the situation. A great deal of hubris was expected of me in the position I was in, and hubris can be fun the first few times you try it out, but when you have to keep putting on that mask week in and week out and it isn't really you, you start to wonder if you're being true to yourself and just how much the sacrifice you're making is worth it. And it wasn't worth it to me, it just took my creative recovery for me to realize it.

The jerks always loved to chastize me because I tend to be so moody and morose. And, well, I am, to a large part. You can ask Jeff, he and I do go out shopping or what have you on a semi-regular basis, and it's not like I'm always preaching death or destruction or how confused I am or how bad my life is. He and I can play video games, watch DVDs or just bullshit around like all buddies do. Sometimes we do delve into more serious topics and have deep conversations, but that's part of the relationship Jeff and I have built up. He trusts me enough as a buddy to share that side of himself with me, and while I do have a justly-earned reputation for talking to damn near anyone about my inner feelings (such as you, reader of these very words), I can open up with Jeff more than I can in a public journal like this. I open up even more with L., but I find that largely unnecessary because she seems to know me better than I know myself.

And I guess that's a large part of why I am so introspective and so gloomy, because to a large extent I'm still trying to figure out just who I am and what I want out of life. It is far too late for me to remember who said "the unexamined life is not worth living," but I take those words to heart so strongly I probably murmur them in my sleep. For far too long I didn't examine my life to any large detail, because I was allowing other people to impose their beliefs on what my life should be on me. And the time I spent living up to other peoples' expectations of me is time I can never get back, and I lost enough of it that it's hard not to get depressed about it every now and then.

I do know enough about myself, though, to know that I am a pretty dark babe. I like my pain a great deal, and as much as I hate it sometimes, I'll never give it up. Because, in the end, I realize that it is from that pain that my greatest work is derived. And given the purpose I know I have, and the message I know I was meant to deliver to the world, that pain ultimately is a crucial part of me being able to accomplish my mission in life, to bring myself utter and complete fulfillment, to follow my destiny. And just as Belldandy, I obey destiny.

Some of the acquaintances I had back in the situation kind of set a different template, though, with long, rambling blurts about the fun they had over the weekend while their spouses were away or the best restuarants they'd ever eaten at or the best concerts they'd ever gone to. And I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, but it's just not me. I'm never going to be all that sociable, or as disposed to speak with the same happy-go-lucky tone, or as lithe to talk about the bad things in life, as they were. That's not who I am, I'd much rather speak in a more bleak tone about what has me depressed or troubled. Because that is who I actually am, and I have to be true to that above all else.

I know how to roar like a lion when I need to, but I am just a little mouse scampering about life, trying to do what I can. And I know I'm not that much different from a lot of other people. At least I think I've gotten to a point in my creative recovery where I can hopefully set a good example for people who may have gone through problems like I've had in the past, and show that you can get better, that you can follow your bliss and succeed in all areas of your life. I don't pretend to have gotten that far on my road to destiny yet; I won't even pass the first marker on the road until I get my first album out there. But at least I'm on the road and moving forward, which is a lot more than I can say about where I was at this time last year. And I'm going to keep moving forward, through my own inner strength, the power of what I have learned from L. and Julia Cameron, and the support of my true, real friends. And I will fulfill my destiny.

Anyway, 04h00 passed a while ago and the Tylenol and Sudafed are finally starting to take effect, so I think I have an appointment with my old lumpy mattress for another attempt at getting sleep. From what I've heard, though, this flu bug is nasty and super-persistent and I may not be able to think clearly for another few days yet. Hopefully this'll all be over soon, though, because this headache keeps coming back something fierce and it's hard to do much of anything like this. I don't quite know what power is currently driving my brain and my fingers to put these words up, but I figured I should run with it and see where it took me. Hopefully these words won't look quite so embarrassing when I can make sense of them.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go fall into a coma. I'll see you all soon.

- Sean