Well, it's May 7, 2003 which means I'm 27 years old as of today. Unfortunately, I'm not very happy today ... the last year has been a hard one on the economic sector in which I make my living, and the effects are definately felt here at home. As if that wasn't enough, I think my folks back home have forgotten that this is my birthday. That always makes you feel better. I started my 27th birthday off feeling sorry for myself, and reflecting on the fact that this same day last year I was making nearly twice what I currently make. I have to say that this winter was a grand time, but unfortunately my birthday doesn't fall between November and March (when I was feeling way up.) Currently the IRS and Mass. DOR has me by the balls, I had to do some things last year that I didn't want to do that caused my tax liability to shoot through the roof. All told, I owe the governments that I serve a little over $4k. In previous years this wouldn't be cause for concern, but coming off four months of unemployment and working for a startup who can't pay me what I'd normally earn makes this a large cause for concern. Just so it doesn't wreck my marriage, my wife and I are treating it like the 900lb gorilla in the room ... we both know it's there, but we won't acknowledge its existence. I've been bumbling through all the forms and such to try to get a settlement setup with these guys to see if I can get a little relief. If life is like golf, I've just hit my shot into the water for the second consecutive time, and even the relief is going to make me pay. If life is like chess, then I feel like I've sacrificed my queen for a pawn. Right now I'm counting on VC funding to come through for me @ work. Which brings me to my next point of contention ... Why is it that I'm under constant deadlines, while my company's CEO seems not to have any of his own? I've heard that we'd be getting a term sheet done at the end of March, then the end of April, and I'm expecting he'll come out and tell us he sees a term sheet coming at the end of May. I don't want to hear that. I want to see a check come rolling into 4 Faneuil Hall Marketplace. That would trigger a clause in my contract that moves my salary up to what it should be. What does this mean for work? As one could imagine, it's affecting my output greatly. I know that my professionalism should allow me to block all this out and get the job done, but it's not happeneing. Also, I feel like I'm slowly falling into the clutches of alcoholism. I started drinking beer a little after 10am this morning. My scientific side says "why are you drinking a depressant when you're already depressed?" My impulsive side says "Pour it!" I'm an impulsive guy, and that side always wins (well, not always, but very often.) Hell, alcoholism is in my genes anyways ... every male Underwood I've heard of has had a problem with it. I can make my peace with that, but I don't want to sink to my brother's level. With that in mind, I'll never move back to `bama ... it would tip me over and turn me into what I fear most. I've got to find a way out of the rut I'm in. I've got to help Rhonda find a way out of the rut she's in. I've gotta get all my bills paid. I've got to get my coding done. There's the conundrum. All these things floating in my head. I need to clear my head. I know what has done that in the past, but I've been avoiding going back to it at all costs. Desparate times call for desparate measures, right? I don't think so this time. I've gotta gird myself and put my nose to the grindstone. I must overcome this. I MUST succeed in spite of all the circumstances. I will find a way ... after all, I always have.