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Fred is good. There is so much discussion going on and so much to read. It's kind of surreal. A major rpg gets a new edition after ten years and the person who wrote it is not only willing, but eager to answer all inane persnickety rules-lawyer questions within 24 hours, even on a Saturday.

But I'm so swamped with homework and projects and studying and speech-writing and research and reading and figuring out arcane statistical analysis techniques and trying to write a five page paper on UNT's water conservation program that I don't have time to contribute just now.

After this semester, no more calculus, no more science projects, no more statistics, no more speeches. However, I have time for a cathartic diary post in the middle of a long dark night.

I am close to finished with the first page (actually, it's now the second page) of my character sheet. See it here. Still have a couple things to add to this page. First page will be the main reference page with all rolls, attacks, combat and noncombat stats, etc. Third page is for background, equipment and abilities, physical description, etc. I'm also working on an abbreviated sheet for NPCs (mostly for GM use), and a page with a small number of charts and standard maneuvers--something to make it easy for players to leave the rulebook at home.

The Goonies R Good Enough is a damn good song. So is Come Undone by DD.

I did this and this.

Dr. Beck's two hours was all in all good radio. It challenged my thinking. He's not your average token liberal--his ideas are built on strong classic philosophical foundations and he can make a logical argument and debate an issue without resorting to fluffy rhetorical meanderings and hand-wringing.

I expect nothing less from Charley Jones, the single most discerning person I've ever met, than amazing guests and non-confrontational conversations. Charley is so good, I can't even LISTEN to any other radio show anymore! I feel immensely lucky to have started listening to Charley in mid 1996 (after realizing 8 hours of music each night, no matter how good, would soon rot my brain) and to have him still around and better than ever.

Speaking of Charley, the other night I listened to the whole amazing Jones Trivia Show (including Jones Goes to the Movies) and discovered some things. It's hard to get my mind around enough to put into words. Sounds kind of silly too. But some of Trivia Night involves questions about pop culture items of the past few decades. Sometimes Charley will play a musical selection from some TV show, for instance, and ask for what show it was the theme. And... well... it just got me to thinking about time and its passage and the finality of each moment.

Dang, what the?!? I'm TWENTY-SEVEN years old?? How the hell?? And when that theme song was on TV I was twelve years old? And that's fifteen years ago? And I can never go back to that time? And I can never get a single moment of those fifteen years back, let alone the whole twenty-seven year block of time?

It's outrageous sometimes. It's overwhelming, catastrophic. It feels like a kick to the gut, sort of. Oh my God, twenty-seven years just went by! These damn songs don't help a thing. Get out of my head.

I want to be immortal. It's not that I fear growing old and senile and weak (although I do fear those things), it's not that I fear death, it's that I can't endure this linear progression, this slipping into and out of phases while collecting haunting memories, this existing in one singular second while all of life is behind me and a finite end approaches inexorably with me pathetically incapable of lifting a finger to slow it even an infinitesimal amount.

Perhaps it is the entropy of memory that rends my heart. What are they [memories] good for? We can't control the weather, but of far more utility would be the ability to edit one's own memories. Why must even the 'good' memories tease me with their clairsentient strangle reach through light years of disintegrated life and time, by nailing to the wall the reality that they're dead and gone and as acquirable and substantial as a microscopic ghost on the far end of the universe?

We look before and after and pine for what is not;
Our sincerest laughter with some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs tell of saddest thought. . .

Friday I woke up in a different place. I had BAD dreams. Spreadsheets again. I felt like someone who'd been forced to glance at some awful truth about what the 'meaning of life' is but had not a prayer of comprehending it beyond a faint concept of the aura of the subsurface goliath behemoth monolith dread terror.

I had to get out. I went and hung out with Shannon from my EnvSciLab group. We busted into the UNT physical plant and acquired records on water consumption for the last three years. This girl Shannon is an interesting case in point. In 1993 I, Kevin, would have absolutely adored her. She's easy on the eyes, thoughtful, idealistic, reserved, bright, comfortable to be around. I have changed. I'm not saying she's not a neat person to know (and really I'm just using her as anecdotal evidence of something), but I am not the Kevin I was in the early 90s.

This leads to two questions.
1. Who was I in the early 90s?
2. Who am I now?

These are rhetorical questions. Because you see, if I knew the answers to those two questions, I wouldn't be asking myself those two questions. So I move on.

What happened to the hour? What indetectable cosmic tachyon field has caused hour deflation to such a frightening magnitude? An hour 'these days' is so cheap and vulgar and made of styrofoam and over in a blink. I remember... the hour was once a pretty dense, solid, substantial, dependable unit of time. Something you could lean on. Something you could hang your hat on.

A similar phenomenon has befallen the day.

Despite the morning, Friday was good. I felt "happy". Which is just more empirical evidence that I am in no way in control of my body and mind. I would say that I have no right to ever be unhappy. I have been blessed with far more liberty and prosperity even in my exquisite failure than the vast majority of the world can ever expect to taste, simply by virtue of having been born here. However, I would also say that on that Friday there was no discernible reason for me to have been 'happier' than I was the day before. All signs would tend to point to a downward-sloping trend.

The conclusion is that someone or something else is pulling the strings. Playing me like a marionette. Or perhaps a pawn on a chessboard. Release this chemical here, crank up that hormone there, turn down this electrical impulse over there on top of that box. What is the 'self'? An illusion. There is no 'me'. I'm a series of stills flipped at sufficient speed to present the illusion of full motion, or continuing consciousness. I'm being played.

Is it because I've accepted my 'existential aloneness' too wholeheartedly? Gone off the deep end? Been offered tiny little smidgens off a spoon and instead devoured the whole bowl in one gluttonous swoop?

I ran a question along these lines by Shannon actually. There are many other people to whom I could pose such questions. She was a good candidate for such as I don't know her very well and won't be knowing her after the class is over. And she was the only one there. I believe it made her uncomfortable. And the subject was quickly steered right back to the project.

Perhaps the real goal is to fill one's conscious hours with things and people to a sufficient degree that such questions don't even occur. To an extent that memories and wicked time aren't even noticed for all the extraneous exterior stimulation.

So yes, Friday was a 'good' day. I was 'happy'. I have no idea why. And now it, and the day Friday, are GONE. Slipped out of my grasp yet again. What's 'good' about that? Am I suffering from the effects of severe information overload?

All I have is this second. And a million things to do and a million things I wanted to do and a million things I'll never do. And things I allegedly DID, but only because they have some twisted sort of pseudo-existence in some mushy grey sector of my brain. How inviolate are those memories, anyway? How concrete?

I'm currently decidedly disenchanted with the whole extravaganza.

I suppose that is enough fluffy rhetorical meanderings and hand-wringing for one night.