Diary-X Marks the Spot

February 26, 2006

Well, that’s it. According to the latest word from Diary-x, “All journals, user information, forum posts, templates, images, and everything else are all irrecoverably lost.” Stephen Deken, the site owner has announced that he believes “it makes the most sense to close Diary-X permanently.” He goes on to say that “tentatively, the site will go dark on March 31st, 2006.” Dark, indeed.Many members are urging Mr. Deken to reconsider, but I am not one of them. I’m mad as hell about having lost this record of my memories. Sure, I could and should have created my own backups. But, damn it, I was a paying customer, and I think Stephen Deken should have been more responsible.

Mr. Deken has now admitted that there have been NO journal backups, because the 2004 backup he previously led us to believe was in existence “contained only configuration files and other non-essential files.” In the man’s own words: “We do not have any other backups for the site.”

Even if Stephen listens to the pleas of those who hope that Diary-x will rise from the ashes, I won’t be returning to the site. As much as it pains me to say this, Yer Blues is gone for good.

My first diary-x entry was posted on August 21, 2001, and the last sometime in February 2006. Over the years, I wrote about triumphs and failures, heartache and jubilation, losses and gains. I wrote about the disintegration of my first marriage, my travels along the road to self-discovery, my reaction to 9/11, my physical and emotional challenges, and so much more.

As a result of menopause and chronic pain, my powers of recall aren’t what they used to be. All those diary-x entries served as a sort of encyclopedic reference – a source I referred to countless times when I needed clarification, or my memory jogged. Thanks to my old online journal, I was able to track my progress, as well as my regress. I was able to build a medical history that comes in handy when I have to fill out forms at a doctor’s office or other medical facility. Most important of all, I was able to remember.

And now – poof! The documentation I have come to rely on to serve as a reminder of the last several years of my life has vanished into thin air. Because of the state of my memory these days, I consider this to be a significant (not to mention upsetting) loss.

There is one, small ray of light at the end of this particular tunnel. It is possible that not all of my entries are lost forever. I think I might have a file saved on my computer at work in which some old entries are stored. I’ll know for sure on Monday, and, if they are there, I will most likely transfer them to my Diaryland archives. Wish me luck.

Song of the Day: Mozart’s Requiem

Having missed too many movies that I’ve wanted to see over the years, I finally succumbed to the Netflix craze.  Don’t ask me why, but I started with “Sid & Nancy” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091954/) a film I had already seen when it was first released in 1986.  I’ve always wanted to watch it with my daughter, Leigh, so she could get some idea of what the REAL punk scene was like, and this seemed to be as good a time as any.  Halfway through the flick, the DVD started to skip, and then it froze.  We had to fast forward through an entire scene before we could get the DVD to work properly again. 

The same thing happened with the next movie I watched, “Reefer Madness,the Musical.” (http://www.reefermadness.org/)  However, I didn’t have any problems with  “Monster’s Ball, (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0285742/) or  “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (http://chocolatefactorymovie.warnerbros.com/ ), and felt hopeful that the problems with the previous DVDs were isolated incidents that wouldn’t be repeated any time soon. Silly me.

Last night, I wanted to watch a movie in bed, so Daniel popped “Life is Beautiful” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118799/ ) into the DVD player while I made myself comfortable. It was very frustrating to discover that I couldn’t read the subtitles, which were white and often displayed against a light background.  I’ll try again some other time in a different room where I can sit closer to the television set, but last night I felt like doing my movie viewing from a reclining position.  Daniel ejected the “Life is Beautiful” DVD and replaced it with “The Pianist.” (http://www.thepianist-themovie.com/)

Because of the subject matter (a Polish Jewish musician struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II), this movie is painful to watch, and I had invested quite a bit of emotional energy into it when the DVD began to sputter and stop. Fast forwarding didn’t help this time, so I had to give up and accept that there would be no movie watching from the comfort of my bed this night.  Grumble.

There are currently sixty movies in my queue, but the fact that three out of the six DVDs I’ve rented from Netflix had this skipping/stopping problem does not exactly inspire confidence in the service. Has anyone else had this kind of trouble? 

Since I mentioned “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” I have to say that, as much as I love me some Johnny Depp, I prefer the Gene Wilder ( http://freespace.virgin.net/rusty.goffe/Image11.gif )  version of the film. In my opinion, Wilder’s portrayal of Willy Wonka was brilliantly understated, while Depp’s Wonka (http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/images/MK-AE769_CHARLI07132005182431.jpg ) is a bit over the top.  That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the remake.  It is visually stunning, and there was much that I did appreciate about Depp’s performance.  Also, the music is fun, although I like the original Oompa Loompa songs better. Actually, I like EVERYTHING about the original Oompa Loompas better.

For some reason, my oldest daughter, Rebecca, was (and still is) afraid of the original Oompa Loompas. She finds them to be very creepy. (She’s also freaked out by E.T., but that’s neither here nor there.) About a year ago, I felt mischievous, and sneakily switched the wallpaper on Rebecca’s laptop to This picture (http://www.codehappy.net/mimage/wonka029.jpg ) of the Oompa Loompas. Then I sat back and waited for the shriek that was soon to be heard.  Hey, at my age, you gotta get your cheap thrills whatever way you can.

Anyway, in my search for Oompa Loompa photos, I came across a Craigs List advertisement for “Free Oompa Loompas – As is” (http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/sfo/37212544.html) and and an Oompa Loompa dating service. (http://www.nuclearblender.com/oompa/) There truly is something for everybody to be found on the Internet.

Back to Netflix – I’ll next be looking forward to watching “Ray,” (http://www.raymovie.com/index.php) and “Walk the Line” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0358273/), but the movie I really can’t wait to see is “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” (http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/index.html ) DVD release is scheduled for February 28th, and is listed at the top of my queue.  Listen up, Netflix.  The DVD had better arrive in playable condition or this means war!

Song of the Day: Oompa Loompa Song From Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

OOMPA LOOMPA DOOMPADEE DOO

I’VE GOT A PERFECT PUZZLE FOR YOU

OOMPA LOOMPA, DOOMPADAH DEE

IF YOU ARE WISE YOU’LL LISTEN ME

Up Periscope

February 22, 2006

I had the colonoscopy this morning.  A couple of polyps were found, and will be sent for biopsy. The doctor said they looked normal, so I’m not worried. 

The procedure itself wasn’t bad, thanks to the anesthesia.  Man, I love that stuff.  That was the best sleep I’ve had in a long time.

Yesterday’s preparation was the hard part.  I don’t know about you, but drinking a GALLON of liquid(s) mixed with that vile powder is not high on my list of fun things to do.  The first 64 oz. went down okay, but it was very difficult for me to swallow the rest of that stuff.  I started at 10:00 a.m., and finished at 8:00 p.m.  Of course, I was in the bathroom all day and night. 

I lost 6 pounds. Unfortunately, I’m sure those lost pounds will come home wagging their tails behind them in a day or two.  Oh well.  At least this experience is over with.  Next up on the list is a bone density test.  That should be a piece of cake, but I’m kind of sorry it doesn’t require anesthesia. Heh.

Song of the Day: Uncle Anesthesia by Screaming Trees

Fed(s) Up

February 16, 2006

Rebecca really surprised me on Valentine’s Day by serving lobster for dinner.  I was banned from the kitchen, and had no idea what she and her boyfriend were up to until the last minute.  Let me tell you, I enjoyed every bite of that meal.

Far less enjoyable was the residency interview at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services in NYC yesterday. It was an unexpectedly brutal experience, thanks to the Consular Officer assigned to our case.  I was taken aback by how nasty he was.

I understand that some immigrants enter into marriage for the sole purpose of obtaining a green card, and that the burden was on us to “establish the bona fides of the marriage.” But, Daniel is CANADIAN, for crying out loud.  And there’s simply no excuse for the antagonistic behavior of the Consular Officer, no matter where Daniel is from.

We had a foreshadowing of what we were in for when the Consular Officer got a phone call as soon as we sat down in his office.  It was a wrong number, but to hear the officer’s reaction, you would have thought it was Osama bin Laden. He yelled, “This is HOMELAND SECURITY.  This is the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.  I could have your phone tapped! Don’t call here again!”

Let this be a lesson to those who have the audacity to dial wrong numbers.  Vee haff vays to make you disappear…

After he finished getting his kicks by terrorizing the person on the phone, Mr. Consular Officer started the interview. 

Mr. Consular Officer (to Daniel): “What is your wife’s father’s name?”

Daniel: “Frank.”

Mr. Consular Officer: “Are you sure?”

Daniel: “Yes.”

Mr. Consular Officer looked down at his notes, and then up at Daniel.

He asked: “How did you learn his name?”

Daniel: “I was introduced to him by Stephanie as ‘this is my father, Frank.”

Mr. Consular Officer: “You’re sure of his name?”

Daniel (who was now feeling pretty confused and upset): “Yes.”

Mr. Consular Officer (to me): “That isn’t your father’s name.”

Me: “My father’s name is Francis, but he has always gone by Frank, as do most men named Francis.”

Mr. Consular Officer: “Oh.”

Mr. Consular Officer looked disappointed that the trap he was trying to set didn’t catch him a wabbit, but he managed to collect his wits and move on. Not much later, he challenged our attorney about the way she had filled out one of the forms. “You like to argue, don’t you,” Mr. Consular Officer snarled, cutting our attorney off as she tried to explain.  I felt like saying, “You like to intimidate, don’t you, you big bully.”

Throughout this ordeal, Daniel suffered some anxiety, which is certainly understandable.  I, on the other hand, just felt indignant over the way we were being treated, which probably turned out to be a good thing. My indignation helped me to keep cool and in control. I wasn’t going to let that tyrannical bastard get to me.

Finally, after exhausting his entrapment efforts, Mr. Consular Officer had to accept that he wasn’t going to be able to trip us up.  He grudgingly granted Daniel conditional residency, which means that we have to submit some kind of form two years from now indicating that we are still married. Then Daniel will be granted permanent residency. I am so glad this part of the process is over with. It was extremely unpleasant, to say the least.

Song of the Day: Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin

Exorcism

February 14, 2006

Diary-x has suffered a massive drive failure.  Due to an admitted failure on the part of the management, backups have not been performed. I don’t keep personal copies, so it’s a bit unsettling to think that all those entries could be lost… I’ve come to rely on journal entries to jog my memory on numerous occasions, but now there is a good chance that such an option will no longer be available to me…

Oh well, there’s nothing I can do, so there’s no use agonizing over this.  And, in the grand scheme of things, this is a relatively minor problem.  I recently had a good dose of perspective after hearing about an experience My Friend had.  Last week, she went to Albany for a post-surgical appointment, and the results were troublesome.  As she was driving home, with thoughts of what the doctor had told her weighing heavily on her mind, she got a flat tire. In the dark, on the Taconic State Parkway, a scary road even under the best conditions.

I told My Friend that I would have freaked out if that had happened to me, but she said she took it in stride. Fortunately, a passing State Trooper pulled over and stayed there until the tow truck arrived. The way My Friend handled the situation really made an impression on me.  I wish I could be more like her, but I just don’t seem to be wired that way.

Besides being an English teacher and Department Head, My Friend does yoga, meditates and is a Reiki Master and Reflexologist. I, on the other hand, am a major worrywart. You’d think some of that peace and calm would rub off on me, but it hasn’t.  Go figure.

In other news, I continue to be preoccupied with physical pain.  A couple of years ago, when I was suffering from the agony of a herniated disc and related sciatica, I had a nightmare in which I dreamt that I was in heavy labor.  That’s how my brain chose to deal with the pain I was experiencing in that part of my anatomy.  A week or so ago, my brain chose to deal with the pain in my neck and head by causing me to have a nightmare about demonic possession.  “Mother, make it stop!”

So, today is Valentine’s Day.  To celebrate, I’ll be going to the dentist.  What was I thinking when I made that appointment??  Afterwards, I’ll come home to a meal prepared by my daughter, Rebecca.  She’s coming home from college just for the occasion, and will drive back to school tomorrow morning. 

Speaking of tomorrow, Daniel and I have an appointment for a residency interview with the Department of Immigration in New York City. Wish us luck!

Song of the Day:  The Exorcist by Hellacopters