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Saturday June 15, 2002, 05:02

Set the mood, dim the lights, lower lower lower still. My eyes, adjusting to them, fog over, and it feels as though I am in a haze. But I am not. I am in the living room, on the couch, where I have spent the last several days. There is a slight indentation here where my derriere has settled and my index finger on my right hand is a bit sore from all of the activity on the touchpad as of late. Writing I have not been. Nor reading so much. Instead, my time has been spent both entertaining out of town visitors and doing some good old-fashioned programming1.

Astute observers will realize that this might mean that, despite the gradual formation of an entity known as buttcouch, the recent productivity in my life might signify something resembling of a form of employment, this time in the form of a freelance project for an associate, friend and rock and roll buddy of mine from back at home. So I have had something to keep me busy for a while yet, and I remember what it is like once again to produce (create, not lettuce) and end up with a final product that can be useful to individuals in the world other than my own selfish self. Small comfort for me as I realize that I have become intimately attuned to the contours of the clothes drying rack that sits between my couchbutt and the window, but I take solace in the fact that I finally have what amounts to a window office.

Also: I don't need to wear pants while I work, if I don't want to. The concern in this case is that my TiBook (which has turned out to be one of the better computer purchases of mine) runs particularly hot and if I were to not wear any pants while working on the aforementioned couch with the computer resting in my lap I would almost definitely suffer burns on my tender body, and the risk does not, by any stretch of the imagination, outweigh any of the benefits.

So what of it then? Of what benefit is there to the lifestyle that allows an individual to sit, pantsless2 if desired, for the duration of the day and night? Pigeons. I say it again, in case anyone happened to miss it. Pigeons are the sole reason to maintain this life, day in and day out. Those foul beasts of the city, those scourge of the urban tundra. Pests at least.

Yesterday, turning the corner off Oxford Street up Regent Street to head home, I passed a crosswalk and saw a woman crouched at the edge of the sidewalk in the middle of the street, trying to corral a herd of pigeons back up onto the sidewalk, off of the street and out of harms way. One must consider, first of all, that pigeons are disgusting animals and for this woman to even consider touching one of them, as she was doing as she cupped her hand in an attempt to pick one of them up, makes no sense at all. One must also consider the case for natural selection that would dictate that the pigeons that did get run over were the ones that were too stupid or slow to get out of the way in the first place and really, who wants stupid pigeons all over the place?

So there she was, herding birds (and ugly ones at that), moving one up onto the sidewalk in time for another one to hop down again onto the street, the bus driver eyeing this woman, hoping that she moves her butt out of the way before he is forced to do a bit of his own thinning of the herd, when I turn to see another man staring at the woman. He catches my eye and shakes his head from side to side, his mouth turned down in a frown of disapproval and his eyes piercing through her very soul.

The light changed and the woman jumped back onto the sidewalk, the majority of her flock still on the street. The bus driver gunned the engine and the bus lurched forward, barreling its way through the cross walk and right past the four pigeons that decided that they really didn't want to move and just stood, relaxed, pecking at invisible crumbs in the asphalt.

I turned and walked away as the woman jumped down into the street again, determined to make a difference.



1. The truth of the matter that the programming that I currently do is not really so much in the realm of "old-fashioned," per se, as the web has been here for less than a decade, and relational databases only slightly longer than that. And yet in that time, there has been enough of a build up and let down that for every web developer out there, there is at least one other (and often more) who feels as though the industry in its current form offers little or no room for flexibility and creativity for those individuals who want to be more than code monkeys, for the development of a so-called "database-backed web site" is nothing more than a two-step process of adding items to a database and retrieving them. Once this process has been completed once, subsequent iterations of it, be it in the same application or in a different application for a different project on an entirely different platform are almost exactly the same, and the thrill comes then not from the actual construction of the product but from the planning; the conceptualization as opposed to the implementation.

2. For perhaps the second time in my entire life I heard the term "pants" used not as Americans do, but as the English choose to, as not an article of clothing but rather as something quite equivalent to "bad" (or worse). "And," she said, as she sat across from the table from me, recounting how the events of the evening had thus far transpired, "we were about to leave the office only to find out that our entire plan was pants." And I stared at her. And I considered what she said and I nearly giggled myself to death, for one might use the word "trousers" here, and that would be fine, at least in my recognition of the word, but it is so cute to hear a word that I hold so dear used in such a fun and punchy manner. But alas, try as I may, I heard nobody use the word for the remainder of the evening.

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