Went to aikido to get my ass kicked again, and had a whole lot of fun. I enjoy being a beginner again: there's the satisfying swift learning, followed by forgetting it all and having to learn it again, only you might get it faster this time. This currently occurs with my learning to roll and fall properly...my forward rolls have degenerated a bit, but this time I thunked my shoulders and lower back, rather than shaking my brain around in my skull.

I'm going down to Santa Barbara next week, staying at the hostel Mona and I were at last month. I'm happy enough to get out of town, all things considered, even if it's a torturous five hours of dull boondocks to get there. My boss's boss said to make sure I caught up with him, because there are or may be "other opportunities" at UCSB. As long as those opportunities don't involve me moving to Santa Barbara, I'm game. Jobs up here are still damned scarce, and I'm happy to hide out in academia as long as I can until the job market stops sucking and people stop telling me that four years of experience and being smarter than most people isn't quite what they're looking for.

Not that it pisses me off, mind.

Work goes well, though. Last week or the week before the software and build system advanced to the point where you could check out the code from the source repository, modify a couple of configuration files, and compile and install it into the servlet engine, and it Just Worked. This means that not only can we in good conscience distribute the code to other people, but it will run on the server at UCSB, so it will be constantly available, instead of the development version on my laptop. Aside from being a development version which can sometimes be broken for a few hours as I make some massive changes, but my laptop, if the power connector gets wiggled just wrong, will sometimes power down instantly with no warning (I assume it's a short-circuit of some kind). On top of that, the server works as promised (although it's not terribly scalable), and the higher-ups all appear to be pleased.

I was almost sober tonight. For tasting purposes only I had a little bit of Anchor Distillery's Old Potrero distilled rye spirits (they're the hard liquor branch of the people who make Anchor Steam Beer, and why they don't just call it "rye whiskey", I have no idea). I was previously acquainted with their Junipero Gin, a concoction so smooth that, unlike any other gin I've had, it's a pleasure to drink unaccompanied on ice. Seriously. It makes Tanqueray look like Everclear.

So I poured a small amount of Old Potrero into a glass, and holy shit, that's the smoothest whiskey I've ever tasted. Warm and thick and sliding down my throat like...I don't know. Like an egg would slide on an inclined piece of glass.

Shortly thereafter, there is an intense burning sensation in my throat and my stomach feels almost ready to throw up. I stumble into the dining room and discover that Old Potrero is, in fact, 121 proof (60.5% alcohol). Most whiskies are 80-90 proof (40-45%); Everclear, depending on the laws of where you buy it, is 120-195 proof (60-97.5%); Bacardi 151 (75.5%) actually has a perforated grate over the mouth of the bottle, with an arrow and a sign on the label that says "FLAME ARRESTOR - DO NOT REMOVE". Some people were passing a bottle of that stuff around my freshman year in college; I only smelled it, but after that and several years of drinking, I now know the feeling of having Too Much Alcohol in you.

So Old Potrero is damn fine whiskey, but really, really needs to be cut with water.

I was watching a show on the History Channel tonight about the Autobahn, and how that's affected the development of German cars. Mostly it makes me want to go to Germany and rent a nice sports car and drive for a few weeks.

Sometimes life makes you want to die. Or not die, as such, since that's not necessarily the problem. The problem is that you want to get away. You want to run, hide, avoid. You want things to be other than what they are. Dying, while really a suboptimal solution for reasons I can't coherently state at the moment, doesn't solve the problem (I think there's a stipulation in there somewhere that in fact you'd like to avoid the problem, but be alive to be doing something else) and, shock value aside, doesn't really contribute anything to the discussion.

Sometimes life makes you want to curl up in bed with your favorite blanket on your head and fall asleep or make the world go away, or something. Sorry to say I support this idea fully. Take a nap. Your life will be there when you wake up. I think you actually know this before you fall asleep, which may disturb your nap, but let's put everything on the table here.

Be aware also that you're getting advice from someone whose primary coping mechanisms this month are alcohol, avoidance, and...dead brain cells, apparently, since I can't remember the third one.

I'm reading this page about whiskey distilling, and I'm guessing Old Potrero isn't labeled as "whiskey" because "whiskey" has a cap on how much alcohol it can have.

It's time for bed now.