Where did this come from? I asked myself last night. The one-too-many Zima’s collided with the cranberry Smirnoff’s – I had never before felt this way. So, I sat in front of my computer, all lights off in the hallway, and the one thought in my head is where did I go wrong?

The tragedy, I have realized, is that my writing has lost some edge. Certainly, it has gained a wittiness, a more complete understanding of where to begin and end a story, and that my work should be stories… however, there are no stars colliding. No eclipsed afternoons watching the shimmer of the sea. There are no planets anymore between me and the sun. There is no reckoning of what happened at the beginning of the universe or pleas for God to cannonball into the depths of my mind.

And very little of what I write now is simply an exploration of the english language. I miss that.

Yesterday started out fine enough.

Here I am, my birthday. Not bad. You know, just chilling out. About to head to work.

My boss from my job I usually have during the school year calls. “Ben,” she says, “I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but it looks as if you don’t have any work study funds for next year.” The unspoken part of this is which means you can’t work and can’t eat. So, I call the financial aid office. Their news was much more dire: “To us, it doesn’t look as if we got a FAFSA application for you.”

Well, I say, I’ll show you! I finished my application, and I’ve got all the evidence of this on my computer. I’ll just head home before work, find my confirmation email, and then everything will be sorted out.

Ha! is my cry to battle. This is but a minor screw-up.

‘Fraid not.

I get home, and there is no evidence that I even attempted to start a FAFSA application. None. Zip. Nada. The FAFSA website says that I don’t even exist. And this is a funny thing, seeing as I had taken two weeks to gather all the information I needed to submit it on it’s due date, March 2nd. I had been very proud of myself.

So, I actually call the phoneline for the FAFSA, and they tell me that what might have happened was that I had input all my information, but never actually clicked the “Submit” button. And since saved forms are deleted after 45 days on their website, and I filled in all my information around early March… well, you can see what happened.

So, as it is right now, I’m uncertain about how much aid I’ll be able to receive next year. I resubmitted a new FAFSA application online last night, as soon as I got home from work and before I allowed any of my friends to drag me out for celebrations.

But that wasn’t the end of my birthday, and thank God for that. I had a fantastic time trying one of those Texas-sized Margaritas at Hudson’s, and then headed over to the Sycamore Hot Springs in Avila Beach for some sulfur-smelling, hot-tub action.

My friends are so cool. I’d forgotten all my troubles, and it was great.

The day before my birthday, and I need a swimsuit.

One thing that many do not know is that there is more than one children’s program running concurrent with the Learning Center computer lab that I’ve worked at for about two and a half years. This other program is called CWIP, the Children’s Work Incentive Program. It’s a great program. Usually the most I see of it is when volunteers from Cal Poly come into the lab to meet before they take the kids out gardening, or picking up trash, or going swimming with the kids during the summer.

Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to do any of this stuff. I even asked if I could have a shirt over two years ago, and Traci, believing that I’d not be working there as long as I have, said that since I wasn’t involved with that particular program, I shouldn’t get a shirt.

Anyhow, I’m still not getting a shirt, but I think I’m getting something better. Yesterday, my boss asked me if I’d like to take a day a week and go swimming with the kids. This would mean I’d get paid $9 an hour for being in the sun, swimming. I wouldn’t have to worry about kids that are drowning too much because there are lifeguards around. Basically, my only concern would be to keep the kids from escaping (but seriously, what kind of a kid would try to escape a swimming pool in the middle of the summer? It’s lunacy. Particularly since those kids aren’t required to go at all!)

So, no surprise, I said “hell yes, Traci. Woot woot.” Well, more or less.

Go team me.

Yesterday, I was in San Jose, helping Sarah and her mom move the first load of materials into her new apartment. The sunlight had an odd feeling, as if it were a perfect frame for a sad, but joyful event. Sarah’s taking a new step in her life. No more will she have mornings of walking to school where she will be the student.

There’s a great amount of security in being the student. Security in the ability to sit back and learn, with no great demand on you for anything but your attention. Certainly, she’ll be learning quite a bit as a teacher, but she will be sharing quite a bit of knowledge.

I guess it’s just one more step.

And so, the next day calls me a liar. Turns out that, as Jim was looking at the wiring for the internet, he managed to exclaim “Oh geez!”

“What?” I ask.

“Here’s the problem. Some dipstick, when they were messing around back here, forgot to screw in the cord that runs from the modem to our cable outlet.”

“What a dipstick!” I proclaimed.

And that’s how it was. The internet is back, and now I can finally finish getting the final season of Quantum Leap.

I have an internet addiction… Not really, just a downloading addiction. I wonder what the percentage of things I’ve actually watched is compared to how much I’ve downloaded.

Some other good news today: the Study Abroad office at Cal Poly has emailed me back. Lee says I’ll be able to have 15 hours a week for two weeks in mid-July. This will be very good. Added to my 20 hours at the lab a week, it’s maybe not so good for sleeping, but very good for my money making.

Woo hoo.

The reason why I have ceased to exist online is simply thus: there has been no internet at my house for just over a week now. So, I’m still alive. Just living an internet-free life. I have no idea when the internet will return, but till then, I’ll try to update this during slow times at work.

So, my summer hours have begun at the Computer Lab: 1 – 5 pm every weekday. Today’s been hectic, but fun. So, far, we’ve had 12 kids in, and it’s only 4 now. I set up a time on Tuesdays and Thursdays to tutor one of the kids in Algebra, which will be pretty cool, and unexpected.

Sarah graduated on Saturday. So, now she’s officially old as dirt. And I’m on my way to that goal as well.

Congratulations, Sarah.

Well, it’s over. The smoke has cleared. And there’s still plenty to do.

I woke up yesterday morning with a swollen eyelid, and a humongous spider bite on my forehead. Today’s visit to the health center (after it had, in fact, not cleared up) was pretty good. They gave me all sorts of creams, pills, and other things to help keep down my “allergic reaction.” Basically they said that the stuff from my bug bite was draining into my eyelid…

okay, how disgusting is that?

But seriously, I have very little to complain about. Things are going alright. Not too good, but certainly not bad.

Maybe that’s the way they should be.

This morning, in the car on my way to work, I heard an ad for a hair-growth system that was guaranteed to work, after all, it had “been awarded a U.S. patent!” Something seems fishy about that statement to me.

I realize I have not updated this thing in quite a while. The truth of the matter is, I realized that this quarter, even though I only have 4 classes, I happen to be smack-dab in the middle of 9 finals.

Let’s see, last week, there were my two lab finals, then on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, I had three final group projects due… and then wrapped up my week with an actual final yesterday. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week I happen to be “blessed” with a final each of those days. But after that: sweet, blissful summer.

Pushpin was yesterday. It’s where all the art and design majors put up the work they made througout the corner all throughout the Dexter building, and where crazy Graphic Communication majors like me try to pretend to be as cool as the Art majors, if only for one evening. I put up a couple of my pieces from this quarter, including our iPatch series of ads from one of my group projects. One of the most amazing things I saw there, though, was when I was turning the corner to walk down a hallway, and the floor suddenly turned to dirt and grass and flowers… It was weird. I ended up deciding not to walk down that hall.

Well, that’s it for now. I’m not dead yet, just silent, thanks to Cal Poly. Oh, I’ll get you back one of these days, my alma mater. Just you wait.