Go to today's entry first. Or start at the beginning. This is page 5 of my diary, and follows on the previous pages in some web-like sense. The other pages were full. So soon I need an index for my diary.
From: clburke Date: Tue, 16 May 1995 09:34:23 To: Peter Fruchter Subject: reply
I've taken quite awhile to reply for a number of reasons, one of which was that I think leaving each of us without the other for extended periods of time helps us both remember to "be nice". I wish that were not so. However it is. Another was simply that I've been inundated with other persons and their concerns for over a week now, where much of their concern has been me. This was wonderful and claustrophobic at the same time. I haven't had time even to write in the diary - a place that seems more useful to me still to write in. I may take what I write here and place it there.
But I write to you first it seems because the debt to myself is larger and I am less brave then that will require. This might be what others would call writers block. But it is not. Rather it is the facing of myself clearly that I have put off without access to my keyboard and some privacy. Perhaps actually this is what writers block usually is. :)
On to what you wrote:
> i would like to tell you that regardless of
> 'agenda' or stated reasons for my calling
> you, they are always secondary to my missing
> you. and i miss you rather constantly.
Thanks for telling me this. It is difficult to understand for me that your 2 hour or so time limit is about more than simply me being boring or painful to you. I shall try to confuse less your agenda from your feelings for me. Bear with me on that one though. [It comes to my mind that you have not sent any pages for the diary to me. Any reason? I still await them. However, although I appreciate your needs to write and to publish, I cannot be the force of assistance in that except in publishing. The writing is up to you, and perhaps the author-types that you find sustenance with/from. I am unlikely to be of assistance in that area to you - after ten or so years (?), if it hasn't happened, it won't unless we both dedicate much thought to it. And your actually writing is not my priority. Your happiness is in that set, but I am not convinced that it is writing that makes you so. Please show me up on this!]
It pleases me that I am able to stay away sufficiently much that you can miss me. I intend to get even better at it. I got your phone message last night just after you called. And I suspect that, an hour later, it was you who rang again? I required my own space at that point still. I hope you found what you needed elsewhere, or that (I hope and wish) that you did not phone simply for reasons of need, that you *wanted* to talk with me! But this may be too soon for such (my guts tell me so).
As for your agendas. I owe you an apology for taking advantage of your request for some advice by wandering closer to my thoughts on your weaknesses instead of only advising about what you brought up. I hope you understand why I was so easily tempted. There have been so many paid commercials between us about agendas and policies and beliefs. This I want to stop. I hurt quite vastly after that call. But I knew that I could have prevented the results as much as you, and that I should have. The apology above is as much to me as to you as a consequence. i hope you don't mind sharing too much. :)
> it is useless to express such cheap
> generalities, particularly in lieu of warmth
> when it counts. i go now to peruse 'diary'
> and hope this will help me express warmth to
> you. it's been far too long without for me.
As above told, I haven't had either the opportunity or the time to write my thoughts and think in the first place. With the current level of settling in, this should change again - I hope.
Let's talk further.
So write something, damn it. Here I am, needing to write, to think here ofr a couple of weeks now, and instead, I have done everything but. My new cat is ManekiNeko. Hope he signed a no humans clause on his lease. Everytime I look at him and fondle his ears, I think of my cats. At home. With other people instead of me. I wonder to myself if I'll ever live in my home again. Decorating ideas anyone? Now I'm living in urban crowding. No trees. Surprisingly lots of cats. Air conditioners already blasting. Machine sounds everywhere. A fight in the above apartment while I'm in the tub. Hope its worth it.
That of course is up to me, I suppose. Good. Its about time that these silly parental critters stayed away from me. During my bath, I looked away from my book at the physical particulars of me. Good for bearing children and attracting men. Will I again want more to vanish into abstract space than to come out into the world and be a person? Once upon a time, I hoped only for that. But not for a long time.
Freedom is mine and so finally I understand, really feel, the lack of comparison. No parents. No conservatives at all. Only youths, and newly successful thirty-somethings. It strikes me for the first time that I am finally at an age to which power in society comes easily, without fight. The natural assumption is that I have the right to it. Until now, this was not so. It could be the modesty growing business successthat brings such to my attention. And then my minds whispers that they'll come for the money shortly, that they'll figure out that I'm not really a grown-up. Around me, all the persons I've known for years are suddenly the adults, whether childish or not. And I realize clearly that we never really had a choice but toinheret the power, the money, the jobs, the good tables. We all fought and scrambled for ten years wanting the goods promised. And now they plop in front of my face. I must kick hard to deny that they are easy to get. Hahaha. Where is the joke?
My rice cooker sings along for dinner. Something familiar in my chaotic new life. How I've wanted something familiar and comfortable now for weeks. This is it. Maybe Moppins would move in with me? [Tears fall down slowly as I miss her and know she is happy in her old territory.] First Pittsburgh and now my home, all are gone. If only I knew how to mourn. I wonder who believes what.
A new acquaintance came the other night to the house warming party I threw here. She arrived in phase I of the get-together. [The phases naturally occurred as those of my "friends" avoided each other. Phase I centered around the people who were betrayed / banished / written off / etc along with me by Peter. They avoided him. He arrived after phoning and their leaving, with Nedra, creating Phase II. A few of us braved both phases.] Essentially this woman is a friend of a friend, that friend in turn being only newly befriending towards me. Interesting, no? Well, this person found it within herself to ask within earshot of all concerned what all of them were curious about: why had I invited Peter at all?! Since I had a new place, by myself, wasn't that an indication that he was a history lesson. The answer I gave isn't interesting to me anymore. But the relief I felt that someone had the guts, or whatever reason, to finally lift the pall of expectation was wonderful. Here I have been deriding open technology, and besides this one event, everything seemed closed and superficial. The flirtations, and posturings, and the ever so sparkling wits. These merely served to make me feel that I have been wrong in denying the open technology king his dues.
Boy it irritates me to learn things this way - through experience, and not a priori. Hmmmph. So near the end of the evening with the tailend of the Phase II persons, I found myself suggesting that we should try to elevate the conversation some. Haha. I should know better sometimes.
I think it was too early for me to have been doing that sort of thing. End of that event.
Now come to think of it, my primary social event has included the deriding of my former roommates. You see, I am the only one of the so-called "old people" to still communicate with the guy. I know I have the most to lose in not doing so. And I know I am the best equiped to still talk to him in spite of the fact that my heart hurts so much I can barely breath sometimes. I have had enough of the permanent writing off that I had done years ago with blood relatives. That was sufficient. Even old boyfriends are no longer taboo for some reason. But why are the other old people not speaking with him? Are they receiving too much of my bad energy about him? I hope not. Relationships should grow of their own accord - contrary to the open technology standards I've been fighting. I need to think.
I wonder if the library is still open? I'd like something to read myself to sleep with.
bye for now
Morning... I've showered and coffeed and generally woken up. Its still dawn outside and the birds, except the one Neko danced with all night, are awake and chirpy. Its nice to have been this alone for awhile. All my old fears of being alone in the house at night surfaced. That's alright, I guess, a sign that I'm more my own self even if a slightly earlier model.
Do I really become more other people's ideas of me when I spend too much time with them? Without fighting them about beliefs and the like, I think I do! My beliefs have been altering and affected ever since I realized 10 or so years ago that friendship required this. But... with some friends, like Tracey and I, we reach a happy medium of tolerance and support. We relax with each other now. With others, there is a constant tug-of-war to determine which of us has the right set of beliefs and views on the world. But as I believe that people are experiments, so I must more naturally be drawn to the tolerance kind of relating. However, I am not. I've adjusted my judgemental streak only so far as to not write off those I disagree with. [I need a new emacs session ... Just a sec ... ]
Alright, where was I? I held the belief in common with Peter for all of our time together (up uintil about 2 years ago) that ... hmmm this is hard to write out ... the belief / policy / principle / etc that could be better defended was to be held and lived by and acted on. Now he and I ended up with graduate degrees in philosophy as a consequence of this, and he is also a lawyer, and I speialized minorly in argumentation theory, etc. This is cold-war escalation in argumentation skill. Although we both started out with the good intentions to believe the best belief either of us could argue for, we both tried to acquire arguing skills so as to better able to defend and present the beliefs that each of us already had. And that, I think, is a sign of bad intentions - deep ones.
In my first year at grad school, I took a course that was to change my life. It was a course taught in an authoritarian style by a true believer. As it was the first course I had ever really taken in philosophy (with the excpetion of many logic courses and a phil of law course), I had no samplings by which to judge the quality of the teachings. Two things occurred as a consequence of this package. I found that in order to understand what the material was, it was a course on Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, I had to begin to change my old beliefs into these new ones - ie. the prof was much better at arguing then I was! I hadn't learned academic detachment.
The second interactive effect turned on my relationship with Peter. For all of his life, he had viewed himself as a philosopher, and academic philosophy as the possibly only real bastion of decent thought to be had. Decent of course referred to the lack of authoritarianism, and the presence of explorationin idea-space. Ha. The effect of my attending this course, and of changing my understanding of things, while at the same time improving my arguing skills, was that he was at my throat trying to share my new environment through me. I would take a class inthe day, try to understand it, and then end up arguing for the newer positions against Peter - by his choice. At first I thought this was fun, but after awhile, I grew to hurt a lot - mainly for lack of affection and tolerance. For this period also coincided with one of the last phases of Peter's lawyer thing. I think he was doing bar-ads (whatever that is actually short for, "bar admissions courses and exams"?) at that point. So he hurt too in missing what he loved doing - thinking with others of like mind.
The effect was that it took me an extra year to realize that that course had been designed primarily as a graduate student acquiring ground for that Prof. The course was set up as a cult, and to get a good grade, one had to become a true vbeliever, not just an understander. And true believers were minimally those who could at the drop of a hat recite the proper responses to the proper stimuli. Now I learned a hell of a lot about philosophy as well in that environment. However, I learn in almost every environment, and I suspect that that environment offered nothing special except the cult aspects. It was otherwise a typical course.
Now the point here is to account for why I am so angry now about not having my own beliefs. There are so many things that I probably want to believe that are nevertheless tied up with having been adopted for bad reasons. For instance, I think that saving money is wise, and yet I have that belief because Peter cared about it so much. I independently know that I want to believe this, but I also want to expel the belief to find my own.
Hold on... I recognize this now. I am acting on my desire to never duplicate anything. This in itself creates uniqueness. But it shouldn't be done at all costs. [Sigh.] Alright. So how should I sort this out? By myself for one thing. I don't want to be this ambiguous again. [And Peter's voice echos in my head that I do not like mixing my foods together on my plate. True. But since I do not have a way to feel sane without keeping some things separate, should I mix them?]
Well, can you imagine? Lunch.
Does everyone appear as a god or a monster in my thoughts? Certainly no one I know is either in my actual opinion. Hmm.
At last, as I read back throught he past three months of my journey, I notice something. I do not in the slightest way know how to interact with a person with charisma -- I labelled them people with big tits in honour of a certain someone's tastebuds.
And I know that all of those assholes read this place now. Its 7pm and I am here alone because I turned down three different invitations to be elsewhere. I won't do that again. (I hope, I think to myself in a little voice.) I get it.
I get it. Its about transmitting popularity vibes at another - about that person - whether true or false (if such even makes sense). Like all of the computer types I've met who need that. [Am I ever going to regret this entry!]
[a few minutes later .. yikes did I write that .. aw well]
Dinner plans slavaged, I finish my thought. I do not inthe leasteven know how to deal with a person with big tits -- especially the female variety.
Now a friend beckons in talk mode... excuse.
Alright. So I cannot understand how to interact with a high charisma person -- I don't meet many of them. Perhaps I would as I ought to if I ony understood this one thing. This is what Peter has harped on these past few months. I see the high charisma as sexual energy run rampant. And correctly so. But he said to me this afternoon that there is more to it.
More to it. What? High enregy, optimism, religious fervour, an ability to project that another is so terribly wonderful. etc
Yeah. And on occasion I do this too. And on other occasions I project other moods. The big titters are those whoalways do this one thing - and there must be a reasonwhy they always choose the same one. Aha. Now that I know, what now?
Excuse again... the sunset is too beautiful to miss.
Last word ... it rained as I stepped out .. and a rainbow strew itself ahalfway across the sky, vanishing as soon as my friends arrived.
Finally I smile.
Should I give up on this pursuit? I've had so many strange reactions lately as the number of friends who read this reaches critical mass. I have become the based reporter of their lives rather than the simple studier of myself.
Last I weekend I went with a friend back to Oakville and wandered the old parks and woods where I grew up. The street was Wood Place - named after the wonderful woods there. First, we did a really quick buzz past my old house. It was amazingly different. The small two bedroom bungaloo is enormous now with a garage, and a back extension, and god know what else. They removed most of the old shrubs in the front that my father as always trimming. I wonder who they are... I bet there are two parents, two kids, and at least one is an engineer. :) I'm sure glad I never became one. I didn't even know what an engineer did when I went off to university to study it. Funny.
We wondered around the area around my old house. After having lived there for 16 years, and then not for 14 more, I still really know the place. All the nooks and crannies are still there.
I've noticed that most of my dreams occur in those surroundings .. the old street, in the house, and sometimes inthe old woods down the road.
I woke up alone this morning trembling. Almost too stiff to move at all. My muscles ached, and I felt exhausted from trying to sleep all night. I had been completely unconscious the whole night, and yet I knew of a night enveloped in nothing but fear, a grasping sensation of almost panic.
It felt like about ten minutes before I could do anything but grasp longer. And then I started telling myself that it is enjoyable to be alone - to compensate automatically for the true feelings I had. That was when I realized that I can't stand to be alone. Neurotically. I don't think I like this finding too much. and I don't think I want that to last any longer. Its time to embrace being alone as acceptable, as not a totally loser thing. Even though it is. And even though I hate others who embrace this successfully. Maybe if I had lived with people who enjoyed company rather than thinking it weak to need comapny, I could have healed. on this, like on physical contact, though, I seem to be fucked. This will change over time and with a bit of that ever so elusive patience.
I don't want to be angry about this, simply free of the fear.
I've been a little happier for the past three days now. Good.
Saw Johnny Mnemonic last night with Tracey and 40 screaming teenagers. I remember turning thirteen. As an introverted kid, I knew almost nothing about the world, and as quite the little snob, I thought that I could be above all of the normal failings of being a person. Ooops. Silly me. I have tried this out, naturally. My dad congratulated me on becoming a teenager. That was the first time in my life that I found myself being labelled (to my awareness).
Suddenly my attempts to live up to their every standard were completely meaningless. To my unstreet mind, he had called me a punk, a druggy, and long haired hippy freak. etc. If they only knew the future! Now this was no small deal. My mother had once pointed out ofthe car window as we drove along Lees Lane in Oakville. She pointed and said in her never to be lost British tonsil tensing, "That is a hippy." She said it tremorously witha little fear, no understanding, and a strong desire to keep her daughters away from such inbred creatures at all cost. This was a woman, who at the age of 20, in 1958, at the very beginning of the american hippy revolution, came to Canada. to act even more uptight in the colony then ever would have been continenced back in the beautiful empire by this lower middle class shop owner's daughter. I think she would have done well in Boston. Diane from Cheers without the education.
With this attitude in my household, I entirely missed the sixties. Entirely. I don't even understand music of the modern varieties to this day. (I'm trying not to stay that way, but bear with me!) To the extent she could, my mum brought me up as a little brit. I've spent years unlearning table manners. I might not be that socializable, but she certainly wore me down in places.
Well, into this brain of my went my father'scomment. "Now you are a teenager." He said it as if I'd earned a merit badge. But to me, that word was not so much associated with age as with that type of people it was normally applied too - your average 15 year old. There I was winning math contests, getting honourable mentions in the piano recitals, and generally being the best damn rule follower you've ever seen, and bam.
I protested somewhat that this was bad treatment of me. Perhaps this was my first encounter with a serious lack of public convention of word use. Actually my first would have been when I defined swearing to depend on tone of voice and not on the specific words used. My sister probably doesn't remember her first ethical argument, but I sure do.
I protested and landed in my bedroom without dinner. My father could not grasp that being associated with all of those other teenagers wasn't fair. He had a really good grasp of punishment however. The few events that stood out to me and still do were his punishments - or actually the things I had done that warranted them. The real things I did later on in revenge weren't caught. (I'm glad that none of that later stuff really felt good to me.)
Teenager. From the inside, it meant rebellion, exploration, sentience, rights and freedoms and responsibilities. From the outside, it often meant being shut out from the world of being a child still, shut out from the world of accepting adult responsibilities, being in between without really having anything to do. I think that teenagers should be the politicians. They are the most thoguhtful onaverage of any agegroup. Most think only f their next date. But many are truly discovering for the first time, issues in ethics, politics, psychology, sociology, etc things that us adults take for granted (probably due to overwork in other areas). I don't know that I'd enjoy having a different set of governors, ones who haven't developed the compassion due to living in a contradictory world for long enough. But I'd prefer them to the mindless puppets we look up to now. So they squish bugs too easily!? Certainly they can't sit still in what was supposed to be a mega-blockbuster. Not for a minute. Good thing my days as a cyberpunk are over!
I've been playing by myself all day today, and I'm starting to get the itchy feeling that solitude brings on. For moments at a time, I wander in thought while do a bit of work in the background. Wandering.
Many thoughts do not occur to me. I think I shall try to work for now.
Well, SLIP is unhappy today. And I'd like to write, so here goes with a real word procesor for a change.
I went out this afternoon during the biggest bout of depression I've had in a long time.
A dark, warm-red snake snarling in entangled anguish, entwining ever tighter around my heart. I look around at the people on the sidewalks swinging their parcels and humming along. They look so bland. My thoughts race to times of war when the feelings I have match the countryside. Perhaps it is not just to have been born in times of peace. [Neko bleats his understanding as a pigeon foolishly pecks at birdseed under the window sill. I miss my cats.] Can any civilized person wish this and remain ethical?
The cause is arbitrary to the fanatic so long as it is not believed to be so. In the various countries and neighbourhoods of the world (Did you know that there are only about 260 of them! If every American state took responsibility for 5 countries' prosperity, what would the world look like?!), people choose these causes based on local reasons - reasons that but for where they were born would have been different. The least local reasoning patterns I can find are those about all sentient life forms, or all life forms. Is being life form centric still too local? My mind can't get beyond this limit. And even this one raises foolish ethical questions of survival - who gets to eat whom to survive. Even carrots might get rights someday! Is only photosynthesis ethical. No way. Ethicality is some elusive cause as much as any other.
I've been called a nazi for believing that the foundation of ethics is healthy animal / sentient status! Perhaps I should explain this a bit before going on. One of the mainstay principles of the nazis was the attempt to place the master race in control of all, and I think to eventually eliminate all other races. Pretty sick. The philosophical position behind this idea is merely the desire to improve the human race - something which every utopian ends up having to face: namely, there is no utopia for us humans until we leave war-mongering hatred, intolerance, etc behind us. The nazis may not have agreed with this reason, but they sure ended up with the same desire - to improve the human race. Now there are two ways to go about improving a race - removing various individuals who fall below a certain threshhold, and improving those individuals. The nazis clearly chose the former method only. Most socialist societies choose the latter.
The reason I think I'm not a nazi-like thinker is that I see the improving of our lot through improving ourselves as a goal to strive towards - not using a method of eradication of less than totally healthy individuals and life styles, but rather through each of us choosing to improve our own lot through the striving toward healthier mind and body and spirit. So as a prescriptive goal, the goal canbe reached through either nazism or zen buddhism! The former is the desire to eliminate all individuals not already minimally healthy and so thereby raise the average health (or intellect or beauty or etc.) level. The latter is the desire in an individual to improve him or herself.
Now if I ground an ethics on being healthy physically and mentally and spiritually, then I may or might or might not be a nazi. That's a relief. However, if I am not a nazi, I run aground here, I think. Ethics is clearly the study of interactions between humans (and perhaps other life forms). I have suggested that the prescriptive non-nazi goal applies only to oneself. This is not about interaction with others, but only about how one is to be for oneself. Even if others like the result, it is not an ethical position for it gives no advice as to how to treat others - only oneself. Only a solipsist would bite at that being that person who is definitionally not concerned with ethics. So to be an ethical position, and not merely a psychological one, I need to contect the maximizing of psychological benefits with the good treatment of others. Any ideas?!
I'm all out. Perhaps I shouldn't care about ethics at all except insofar as the further the end of maximizing my own psychological benefits. But that presumes that I've figured out what good treatment or just treatment or fair treatment is first. I cannot decide an ethical actionis advantageous if I cannot decide ifit is ethical in the first place. However, I probably can decide whether an action is advantageous, first to myself, and then to another person. And if I come out witha yes to the latter, after the former, I could call that after-the-fact ethics. OK that's what I'll do. Then if some principles emerge, or merely patterns in these action choices, I can call these ethical principles. I still haven't bridged the IS / OUGHT boundary except in myself. However, that's good enough for me. I don't think I'd like feelingthat my ethical principles ought to be held by others. I do not hold a symmetry principle. I find it bad for my health as it breeds clones rather than interestingly different people. So I do not desire more of a bridge than I've already delineated.
Now if I find myself wishing that I was in a revolution or a war, am I being uncivilized? I'm not starting a war. I'm probably indicating to myself that my psychology could use some benefitting! So my ethical / psychological position allows me to choose where to place the blame for a callous deed. (No, in my universe thoughts cannot be unethical, only actions.)
I see that I was unhappy and merely wishing that I could release that unhappiness with some external justification. Instead I was nice even to a bureaucrat! (Yes, I finally got my car plates renewed. Good thing too as it turned out that my driver's license had also expired! I really would enjoy being a bureaucrat for awhile.) I guess that isn't quite the same as starting a war or blowing up a restaurant. Good. Maybe I'm not much of a criminal element.
Then again, maybe I am.
Life progresses ever onwards. The rain falls, the cat eats more food, the CD plays in continuous loop.
I've been meeting a lot of new people lately, primarily because of these writings of mine. I shall need to develop a Real Carolyn persona to match the diary representation of myself - either that or be a little truer to who I am. Essentially the one missing ingredient is my total shyness upon first encounter. I clam up a lot, and then recurse into self-doubt. Its time this stopped. I suppose it usually does, and especially when I have other more familiar people around from who to play off.
[I finally found someone else onthe 'net doing who is also writing a diary - for real! The Semi-Existence of Bryon. Good luck, Bryon.]
I am slowly getting happier with and about Peter. We have spent a couple of days together now, here and out. (not at my old place - that is too tense still for me). We have talked about the systematic loops of misunderstandings and hurt feelings that we no longer want to engage. I have to be more of a smiiley then I am otherwise, and he more in control of his natural exurberance. This has been working. I'd like to have tensions ease off even further.
My gut still wrenches sometimes when I am reminded of ourtime together in closer days. A dwweeeeb bird flies by and I remember our first days in Kitchener. I see a video game machine in the corner store and have noone to watch play. (Yesterday I did actually.)
And I know that as Nedra grows to like Peter ways more and more, she will will metamorph towards his values - as many females do with males theyadmire. It seems almost natural. She is really good for him, and I value this. But I am not a metamorph - anymore - never again.
My own values override my need for companionship finally. I laugh amusedly and a little sadly as Peter resists the desire to stop jumping through hoops in his latest boot camp - grad school. They've pushed another of his buttons, and there he is, jumping carefully once again. Another four months wasted - another excuse ( he says otherwise - everytime) for not following his own dreams. I recognize excuse utilizing in many people - me too. I use fear. I have retired from using other excuses, and use only an internal one now. Trembling sometimes. This only because I got tired and sick of hearing other people say that I blame them for things. I never actually had the internal sensation of doing such - it was a way of speaking about my own thoguhts. For the sake of gathering more influence and control in my own life about amtters which I care about, I have been eliminating this way of speaking, in person, at least.
I was supposed to have comapny for lunch. My company appears to be runnng really late. miau
I was interviewed by CBC | Prime Time News' Bonnie LaFlave (gee I hope I'm spelling her name right!) yesterday. I think it was very fun. We'll see how that goes over the next little while.
Today is laundrey-doing-prior-personness-library-book-renewing-cat-visiting-Kathleen-hanging-out-with day. Yesterday evening, and yes, last night as well, I went out for dinner with Tracey. We had a really fun time laughing and giggling, adn as a big storm came up over the lake and on to the city, we watched all the beach walkers run for cover like scurrying cockroaches. And I'm having lunch with a new friend to be soon.
Problems seem to be evaporating -- does that make it sound like no hard work was involved? I hope not. Joe got the job he's always planned on and dreamed of! Kathleen's monetary problems vanished in a flurry of job offers. FSC is picking up speed wildly! Tracey is also employed and servicing her deficit financing skills successfully. Richard is happier hopefully than he has been in a long time (on a week long average!). Peter is healing and becoming more of who he is even with a few more months of boot camp, er grad school to go -and even if he'll take 4 months instead of 1 to do it! I am happier again. And my keel is evener. Who else? Nedra and Heron? Time will tell - I've seen Peter's effects on willing friends. They don't keep true to their values when he gets to speak a lot. Nedra is probably safe enough given her own tendency to chatter endlessly. Hope so. Hella is the same as ever, and doing well. I haven't heard from so many others in awhile. Rita is off somewhere and Carey somewhere else.