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Day: May 22

1 interval from 22 May 2001 (Sanctions Thomson Connoting Grenades)

4:07 pm

All right. I took a month off from Ftrain.com. I give the people nothing, and receive nothing in return; instead, they say, I should give them something and then receive nothing in return. Unfair! I have little to say and seemingly no time to say it. I can't write my inconsequential life as if it has consequence; it's impossible.

Plus my Mom reads now, and tells her friends. I went to my mother's birthday party and she's telling me how her friend is looking for the entry about "If Steven Spielberg Directed Porn Movies" and I'm just sort of baffled. It was a suprise party. "I was reading Ftrain right before I came over," she said. "And here you are, in West Chester! Here you are!" Her friend told her my brother and I are two good boys, because we can write the checks. Which we did; we paid for a restaurant for the afternoon, fed 20 people, gave a little speech, inspired a little jealousy. 2 fine fat lads, good to their mother.

I know I'm capable of updating this site daily; it wouldn't be hard. I have what must amount to hundreds of pages of notes and half-written items which beg to find their place in some overall life-narrative; it would take an hour a day to sit and churn through it, to make it available. Something in me fights it, some inner fussbudget.

Ftrain also looks as ugly as hell. I've got a system in mind for refining it.

Also, I'm trying to create a little Ftrain adventure game. It's all based on Perl and cookies and DBM and XSLT and XML. It's a proof-of-concept thing. Right now you can jump from room to room and pick up items and drop them in other places and chat with other players. Once I can put in threaded character conversations, I'll put it live somewhere. I'm sort of waiting for a new server to come online, a new system so that I can make use of the 30 domains or so that I have and start some serious database tomfoolery.

It is 11:29 and I must convert 2000 words of brainstorming into a 500 word abstract presentation on the future of technology. I'll enjoy doing it; I like the work. I can't complain - things are good. I'm good. I'm happy, in my way. Happiness usually takes the form of a little too much work to do, a sense of being lost and not having to contemplate my navel because of the tasks at hand.

My life as it is essentially incompatible with too many close relationships; I'm wandering. I may be bouncing back and forth between Israel and the U.S. in the next year or two. I wonder how long this will go on? Or if it will expand, if I will simply have a base of operations in Brooklyn, be this big ethereal airplane guy? I miss my home computer and its big screen, my hundreds and hundreds of books piled in stacks, my laser printer; I miss the sense of having bought everything around me, all the swirling chaos, of ownership, of my speakers purchased in college, my half-broken stereo, my dust and magic markers and microphone and the contents of the fridge. I miss my relationships, organized by local geography, Brooklyn and Manhattan. But the last week in Israel things switched over and my acquaintanceships showed signs of blooming into friendships, and now I miss being there, too.

All problems come down to too much work, too much salty food, and not enough sex. But these problems are easy to solve, given a few years and a constant sense of self-criticism and steady diligence. Away and to them!

And to post a fucking Ftrain entry and get back in the swing of things.


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Ftrain.com is the website of Paul Ford and his pseudonyms. It is showing its age. I'm rewriting the code but it's taking some time.

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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at ford@ftrain.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.

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