May 21st, 2002


Internet Perverts

Regarding a story published by the Hartford Courant, about a girl who was killed by an "Internet Stalker."

Some quotes:

She was a 13-year-old cheerleader and stellar student who, investigators say, had almost a dozen risque screen names that allowed her to meet strangers in Internet chat rooms.

Law-enforcement sources would not divulge the screen names Christina used, saying only that she had six to 12 different screen names and "one was more provocative than the other and many were sexually revealing."

"Her aunt blames herself and [had thought] that she was doing the right thing. She was aware of her activities as far as she knew," the Rev. Albert Audette said. "We are involved with so many evils around us. We have to watch our children so carefully."

The story bothers me a lot, because the guardian, the girl's aunt, did not take the time to learn enough about what her kid was doing. If you don't have enough skills to effectively monitor your kids' activities, online or offline, then you are not fit to be a parent. If a mother didn't know that her daughter went by Candy and pulled tricks for an hour after school each day, we would be appalled. But when she does the equivalent online, we all throw up our hands and say "oh it's the Internet perverts." No, it's not the Internet perverts. There are just perverts and they are everywhere. They are only on the Internet because parents don't take it upon themselves to help and monitor their kids in that arena.

Kids do things like this, because they want to be older much faster than nature allows. We wanted to be grownup and independent. Being sexual is an easy way to assert that. It's a natural, and dangerous, part of growing up. Parents who aren't aware of this or who stick their heads in the sand will learn the hard way.

I don't blame perverts for being perverts. Lock em up. But it's your duty as a parent to know that there are perverts out there. Cause they are. No matter what the cops do, there will be predators who prey on your kids.


My beloved Mariners

Yet again, I go to a Mariners game and they lose, one to nothing. This was a great game. This is the type of game that I love. A fast-paced low-scoring pitchers duel. There were only 2 walks in the game (that I remember). And the one walk Jamie Moyer gave up is the one that score. Few walks usually means a game goes by really quickly. The closeness of the game and its pace also meant that everyone stayed until the end. After which there was a huge "traffic" jam in the concourse as people tried to get out. I am sure there was one fat couple in front moving very slowly and that was causing the congestion.

Yes, I know that is not very accepting of fat people. Tough. You have your prejudices; I have mine.


Fear, an evil and corroding thread

I used to live in Deary, Idaho. It's a small town of about 500 located 25 miles from Moscow, Idaho. I moved to Moscow in 1987 to attend the University of Idaho. In 1995, I started working at Pacific Simulation. In 1996, I purchased a house in Deary. It sits on 8.5 acres on a hillside right as you enter Deary. I loved living there. It was a nice 25 minute commute to work, all of which was driving relatively deserted country roads. But alas, my employment at Pacsim ended in 1998 for reasons which are not important to this story. I moved to Boise, Idaho and then not long ofter that to the Seattle metropolitan area.

But wait, you might ask, didn't you buy a house a Deary? Whatever happened to that?

Well, that's where the fear starts to intrude. When I moved to Boise, I first thought I would work for a short while and move back to the Moscow area in a couple of years. However, over the last 4 years it has become increasingly clear that I will not soon move back to North Idaho.

What is also increasingly clear is that I have failed to deal with my house properly. This is entirely due to fear. I have let several tenants live there who failed to pay rent. Out of fear I did not evict them. I do not know what I am afraid of, but I felt seized up when I contemplated evicting the freeloaders. However, there are now no tenants living there.

Two years ago, I contact Latah Realty about selling the place. I had the paperwork in had to sign the listing agreement, when my friend Marama Platt asked if she and her sister could live there. They were going to be evicted for some reason and needed a place to live. We agreed on $500/month in rent, and I did not put the house up for sale. Marama and her sister became the 3rd freeloading set of tenants that I had.

So now, I need to sell the house. I am aware that I suck as a landlord and especially as an absentee landlord. I do not want the hassle of owning this house. I can afford to pay my mortgage even without any rent income, but the extra $850/month would be nice to spend or invest.

But, I am afraid. I never signed the listing agreement before and I just never called Latah Realty back. I fear facing them and having the agent (who was quite nice) ask me what happened. Or tell me that they would rather I went to another agency because I am pretty flaky.

Is this a rational fear? Probably not. It is a business, after all. I'm sure they deal with flaky buyers and sellers all the time. And even if it is rational, it does not negate the need for me to get the fuck out from under this obligation.

So what to do? Whenever I have fear that leads to futility and unhappiness, I look to the following paragraphs from a book that has served me well. (Okay, in reality I avoid facing the fear for a long time until I am really unhappy and then I refer to these paragraphs.)

We reviewed our fears thoroughly. We put them on paper, even though we had no resentment in connection with them. We asked ourselves why we had them. Wasn't it because self-reliance failed us? Self-reliance was good as far as it went, but it didn't go far enough. Some of us once had great self-confidence, but it didn't fully solve the fear problem, or any other. When it made us cocky, it was worse.

Perhaps there is a better way—we think so. For we are now on a different basis; the basis of trusting and relying upon God. We trust infinite God rather than our finite selves. We are in the world to play the role He assigns. Just to the extent that we do as we think He would have us, and humbly rely on Him, does he enable us to match calamity with serenity.

We never apologize to anyone for depending upon our Creator. We can laugh at those who think spirituality the way of weakness. Paradoxically, it is the way of strength. The verdict of the ages is that faith means courage. All men of faith have courage. They trust their God. We never apologize for God. Instead we let Him demonstrate, through us, what He can do. We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be. At once, we commence to outgrow fear.

Red color added for emphasis by me.

So this entry covers the first part. I hereby list my fears.

  • I am afraid of tenants in my house
  • I am afraid to call Latah Realty, because they will ask be what happened to me two years ago.
  • I am afraid to call another realty, because then Latah Realty will see the for sale sign and call me and ask what happened to me two years ago.
  • I am afraid to find a company that will keep up the place, that they will rip me off.
  • I am afraid I won't be able to sell the house.
  • I am afraid I will lose money on the house.
  • I am afraid to go to my own property.
  • I am afraid that it is trashed and decrepit.

Aren't these fears already out of my hands? Am I being a good example of living a godly life? Is god demonstrating through me how a person can responsibly deal with a house? The answer is no. So now, the next step is to pray, and look for guidance as to my next step. I know what the answer likely will be. But the value of prayer and meditation is that it focuses my mind on the actions I need to take and on the knowledge that my faith in god will carry me through the butterflies of fear and the unpleasantness of making amends to the people whom I have hurt (albeit probably in a very minor way).

So I shall meditate and take the next correct action that presents itself.