Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Post

On the hill I sat, the trees bending to nature’s will as the lead colored clouds raced angrily from all points defeated to all points doomed. The grass danced frantically, then flattened to the ground in desperation. The air was heavy as it struck the ground, ripping the leaves from the trees and tearing out the scent of wet earth from its hiding places.

On the hill you sat, lost birds shooting unnaturally across the sky to destinations unknown to you or them. The dark line advanced, boiling over the horizon and reaching tendrils down to the earth greedily. Lightning shattered the sky and thunder shook the ground as the curtain of rain advanced, obscuring the hills, then the trees at the foot of the hills, then finally the far edges of the fields.

On the hill we sat, and that was alright.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Not much time

Really, really, I promise. Eventually the posts on this blog will become thoughtful, funny, detailed stories that people will actually want to read. However, I have about 10 minutes before I leave to get groceries for this weekend.
The school in Korea is a really nice place, I sat in for two classes this morning and got to meet a few of the teachers.
There's something odd about this place though, it's almost as if all the buildings and people in Hong Kong were ripped out of the ground and placed in Massachusetts. All of the plants are the same, they even have pokeweed and pine trees!
Apperantly I'm not supposed to be paying for my own food. Score! I changed $40, but from what they say that will probably be about all I'll need for the week.
I really shouldn't have watched all that anime right before I left. For some reason my brain isn't used to the idea of not being able to communicate with people any more, so it keeps on trying to figure out which language to use. Smatterings of Mongolian and Spanish have tried to come out of my mouth, but at the moment the main one is Japanese. This poses a problem, since the Koreans and the Japanese aren't the best of buddies. Wouldn't that be great? I thank someone and end up insulting them instead.

Anywho, it's almost time for me to go. More later, apperantly I can use this computer (again, SCORE!)

Sunday, April 06, 2008

In Which I Learn About Pool

I am taking a class. Technically it isn't a class really, but it involves lectures and homework and all manner of things like that. Last weekend I was forced to go on a retreat for this class. The retreat prevented me from doing homework for all of Friday afternoon and Saturday night. I was pissed.
The place where we were staying for the retreat was about two hours away from the campus. I was forced to submit to a long drive through the rain, enduring the scenic views of Tennessee in spring and listening to the incessant banter of the two relatively attractive girls sitting next to me.
After about two hours of driving we arrived at the "cabins". They were set back from the main road in a steep valley with forested hills on each side. A stream flowed behind the cabins, and there was a cow pasture beside them. Despite the rustic surroundings the cabins themselves were large, clean and well supplied with such things as cable TV, internet and hot tubs. The happiness of the whole scene clashed with the stress in my head like Barney singing lead at a heavy metal concert.
We settled into the cabins, and I immediately obtained one of the omnipresent guitars that are always found on such trips. As I sat on the back porch of the cabin picking Beatles songs the stream continued to babble, the rain dripped off the roof, and as I played all the stress in my body began to collect in my lower back. I twisted, and my back responded with a series of very audible pops; releasing every ounce of tension that had collected over an entire semester of cramming. The hot tub beckoned, but unfortunately it was off limits until Saturday night.
Saturday came, and with it a long series of talks and training exercises. These mostly consisted of a hundred and twenty people running around in groups making odd noises and showing each other cards.
One exercise in particular was rather amusing. The group was split in half, with one half going to one cabin and the other going to another cabin. Each group was instructed in a "culture" that was to be its own. The groups then sent observers to the other culture, to see how much they could pick up from the other by interacting.
I was part of the "alpha" group. Our culture was a close, talkative, touchy-feely kind of culture. Very hispanic, except for the fact that females were considered the property of males.
In our culture it was considered rude to butt into a conversation without being invited, or to begin a conversation without first talking about one's male relatives. It was also considered rude to put distance between yourself and the person you were talking to: touch was demanded. If someone broke one of these rules we had a card that served as the middle finger. We would show this card to someone as a sign of displeasure. If they were an outsider they would be kicked out without being told what they had done.
When the observers came they tried to mingle with our culture. They immediately saw that everyone was chatting and being happy, so they tried to talk and be happy too. They crashed into conversations without being invited, and did not engage in talk about their male relatives. Of course they were shown the card. With a sense of naive jubilation they would hastily find their own card, and wave it about happily. The conversation translates thusly.

Observer: -smiling- Hi! "Mind if I butt in on your conversation and spit on your grandfather's grave?"

Native: -also smiling- "SCREW OFF!"

Observer: -still smiling- "Wait, let me see if I have the pronunciation right on this one; is it just "go away" or does it have to be "SCREW OFF!" with the full-throated volume and fist waving?"

Native: -patting observer on the back and smiling warmly- "How about if you leave us and never come back on penalty of death."

Observer: -looking like a giddy schoolgirl- I would be honored to stay! Thank you!

At this point the observer would be dragged out of the group and thrown down the stairs by one of two bouncers that circled through the crowd. They would then sit at the bottom of the stairs, dazed and confused but still blissfully ignorant, and wonder what the heck just happened.
After these very enjoyable activities the group dispersed to the hot tubs and pool tables for a night of wild and unregulated recreation. OK, perhaps it wasn't wild at all. In fact the group was quite boring in its choice of activities. Still, lazing around in hot tubs is never a bad thing. Did I mention that girls outnumbered guys by more than two to one?
One girl in particular was absolutely stunning. She was half Korean, with dark brown hair that fell like silk on her shoulders and skin like melted caramel. Her delicate curves and happy voice blared one message quite loudly: "you're a loser, and if you think you're getting anywhere near me you must be ignorant as well".
Ah well, c'est la vie! In any case I wasn't looking for a girl, short term or otherwise. I planned on leaving the country at the end of the semester and didn't want to be entangled in anything at home. At least thats what I told myself, especially when I realized that she wasn't stuck up or ditzy. Still, I am young, and forgive me but that girl was very -ahem- attractive and nice.
Later on that night I was watching television. Part of the group had gone out for ice cream, including the Korean girl. When they came back the movie was almost over, but they all sat down to watch the last twenty minutes. After the movie the Korean girl came up behind where I was sitting on the couch. "Do you want to play pool?" she asked.
Now, I am not the kind of person to intentionally put myself in the realm of the unattainable. In fact I had planned on avoiding her that evening for the most part. However, I enjoyed pool. At least that's what I told myself.
"I'm, like, really bad" she said as I set up the balls. She broke. Contrary to what she had said she was not "really bad". Rusty perhaps, but not "really bad". It was a fun game. I won, though I tried not to. The problem was that I get better when I'm not trying, so I kept on hitting shots I would usually miss. We played again.
Half way through the second game I picked up the chalk and put some on my cue, which I had already done several times. She came over and picked up the other piece of chalk. "I love this stuff, it looks so professional!" She said. She proceeded to rub the chalk on the tip of her cue.
Unconsciously she stuck her hip out, opened her mouth slightly and ran her tongue along her teeth as she looked at me. The entire movement was so incredibly sexy that my ears started ringing. "What's it for?" she asked. The half of my brain that was still functional responded. "It's so that the tip doesn't slip when it hits the cue ball" I said. Two questions were running through my mind. Did she know she had done that? Why did she do it?
Immediately the answers came into my brain clear and strong: "Yes", and "Because she knew it would distract me to no end and make me lose the game".

I lost the game.

Smart girl.

One thing please: what happens on the blog stays on the blog. I don't think anyone that reads my blog knows this girl (otherwise I wouldn't have said anything). If you happen to know her, for heaven's sake and mine keep it to yourself!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I Need Money

Long ago I came to the conclusion that money is a good thing to have. Money buys things, and once things are bought they can be used. It's all a great circle of lovelyness.
Here's the catch: I don't have any money. Fortunately for me there are ways of getting money using this blog. All I have to do is put adds up there and wait for several years, and eventually I'll be paid a hundred dollars. This has all been going quite well. I created an adsense account three years ago, and to date it has generated $14.33, for an average of almost two cents per blog hit. Unfortunately the payments have been going down, because my blog doesn't attract the high paying adds any more. In the following paragraph I will fix that problem.
Refinance high interest loans. You need car insurance. Search for hot singles in your area. Search for hotter singles than the singles that were previously mentioned. Search for singles that are hotter than either of the previous groups of singles, and are also guaranteed to not be transvestites, middle aged chainsaw killers, or people infested with STD's. Find true love, and while you're at it refinance those high interest loans. Remember, the fed lowered interest rates some time in the past, and while you probably haven't the foggiest notion how this affects you, it must be good.
There, now all I have to do is sit back and wait for google's bots to comb my blog. After they do that I should have adds that (obviously) pertain to the subjects discussed in my blog. High paying subjects like refinancing, and hot singles that aren't really middle aged chainsaw murderers. That means I'll go from making 7 cents per click to making 34 cents. yay! In any case google really needs to update their public service adds. Hurricane relief is kinda old now.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ah, Crystal Clear Water

Recently my microbiology class had a water purification project. I like projects. Specifically, I like projects that involve me playing around outside class. In this particlular project I had a very bright idea: I decided that I would use one of my previous bright ideas.
My previous bright idea involved running DC current through a salt solution. This creates chlorine gas and hydrogen gas. The idea was that the chlorine would kill the germs. Simple.
I asked one of the chemistry professors what else might be generated from this reacion. He looked up at the ceiling briefly, then flipped through the general chemistry text book. He appologised for not knowing off the top of his head before explaining that the reaction would result in a basic solution. The only thing I had to worry about was creating a solution that was too basic to drink.
I returned to my dorm room. With an air of slightly rebelious adventure, I decided I would treat my (already clean) tap water with my chlorine generating apparatus, then drink only that water for an entire day. I quickly made enough of the water for this purpose. I touched a spoonful of the water to my tongue. My tongue did not fall off. I drank a small amount. It tasted like pool water, but I decided this was nothing to worry about. The solution was ok to drink.
I drank that water for the entire day. By the end of the day I was quite sick of it. It tasted awful, and was generally unpleasant. I began to wonder if someone would be able to stand drinking it long term.
The microbiology water treatment lab was successful. The testing plate for the water from my project showed no bacterial colonies. This was quite pleasing, and I began to have dreams of saving myself and my companions from dying of diarhea in some swamp using only a AA battery and a pencil.
Some time later I sat thinking. The chlorine had not bubbled out of the solution as I had originally thought it should. I tried to think of where it could have gone, and decided that it would have bonded to the OH-. This would have made ClOH. ClOH is an acid, so it would lose a hydrogen and become ClO-. NA+ was running around. Na+ and ClO- make NaOCl. NaOCl is bleach. I had drunk beach solution for an entire day.

That was smart.

That explains the constant urinating.

I canceled my heroic visions.

Side note: making a half cup of this stuff would still be good for killing the bacteria in several gallons of water, but it's probably only wise to use it in emergiency situations.

Side note side note: this is the fist post I have made in this blog that has anything whatsoever to do with chemistry.

Friday, March 07, 2008

No Title (no topic)

I woke very slowly as the tendrils of my dreams released their grip on my mind. The perfect clarity of their logic faded, and I slowly realized that vulcans had not taken over the US senate. As my mind returned to reality, I was surprised to remember that there really were no vulcans, that I could not fly, and that I wasn't incredibly wealthy after all. Concluding that reallity was a pathetic waste of time, I turned over and tried to go back to sleep.
Sleep was gone however, so I rose to greet the abysmal grey morning. A light drizzle fell outside, the kind of drizzle that promises to stay for a very, very long time. Puddles covered the road, the sidewalk, and the lawn, which had turned into a miniature version of the everglade swamps.
Looking at the clock I was pleased to see that I had risen at the early hour of ten. The dorm was quiet, save for the sound of an alarm clock buzzing several doors down. I had often wondered if there was a person in that room, or if the room belonged to the alarm clock. Surely if there was a resident of some sort the alarm would not carry on the way it did. The alarm usually started buzzing at 6:45 every morning, calling like the disembodied voice of all unheeded alarms. It would keep buzzing for several hours, going through various stages of guilt, denial and self loathing until it finally decided life wasn't worth living at around 9:00 and shut up.
Apparently the alarm also had a spring break schedule. This schedule was very much like the normal schedule, except that it began later. Hopefully the alarm would silence itself by noon.
I showered, dressed and prepared to meet the day. Looking about the room I realized that I needed to go shopping. This was very unfortunate, since the local store closed at noon every friday. Looking at the clock again I saw that it was after 11:00. I would have to hurry.
Grabbing an umbrella I left the dorm and walked across the street to the Village Market. The parking lot was full of people preparing for Sabbath. There seemed to be a great urgency among them, as if Christ was about to appear in the clouds of glory and they wanted to stock up on vegemeat while they still could.
I went inside the store and began my shopping excursion like a military operation. Specifically, I conducted it like the US occupation of Iraq. I stormed in, quickly grabbed a few items, and declared victory. Some time later I found myself bogged down in the cleaning products aisle wondering if I should or should not get a copper mesh pot scrubber.
After several changes of policy and a bit of griping about Iran, I managed to extract myself from the store and return to the dorm. Heading inside I quickly made my way to the hall kitchen, where I stored perishable items in the fridge. I contemplated writing my name on them, but concluded that this would be a futile effort. I had written my name on other items in the communal fridge before. Unfortunately this had just given low lifes the ability to taunt me with the remains of my food by stuffing empty boxes under my door with notes saying "Mmmmm! good pizza!". No, the best strategy was to consume the food as fast as possible. Male college students should be treated like bacteria: destructive and foul smelling but easily foiled by anyone with a double digit IQ and some alcohol. That and laxatives, lots of laxatives.
I pondered the laxatives. Perhaps it would be worth my time to try the idea. I could spike some of the food in the fridge with laxatives, sacrificing some of my meager resources in order to bring pain, suffering and explosive diarrhea to some already unpleasant individual. Of course, I could also put up a sign warning that some of my food contained laxatives. The latter would probably result in all of my food being dumped in the trash, which would be unfortunate.
For the moment I needed to begin the task of breakfast. Returning to my room I retrieved some cereal and a bowl. In the kitchen I poured the milk I had just purchased and commenced to eat the cereal quickly. By my third or fourth bite I noticed that this particular milk was somewhat odd. Slowing my chewing to a reasonable pace I pondered the milk. It was sour. Very sour. So sour in fact that it's texture had been affected. I quickly ran to the trash can and spat out as much of the unpleasant mess as I could. Picking up the offending container of milk I looked at the expiration date. It was two weeks away, as would be expected of newly purchased milk.
I concluded that this entire situation was the fault of the mighty retail giant across the street: the Village Market. Receipt in hand I marched back to the store, intent on getting some unspoiled milk. Halfway there I stopped to ponder the situation. Suddenly a great horror dawned upon me. I looked down at the container of milk and confirmed my suspicions. I had purchased a container of buttermilk. I sheepishly returned to the dorm.
The alarm had stopped, and the dorm had begun to awaken. The air was filled with a light hum as the students turned on their showers, stereos and gaming systems. I returned to the silence of my room and sat down to study.

The entire situation would have been much better if vulcans controlled the US senate.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


There is something within me that recoils at the thought of Texas.

I'm not sure what it is. Maybe all my bad experiences with texans have piled up until I can't help but dislike the whole state.
Tonight certainly didn't help matters. Tonight texas democrats voted for Hillary Clinton.
Something tells me that I will read this post years from now and feel a twinge of shame (assuming the world isn't engulfed in an apocolyptic, internet-ending disaster by then). Perhaps it is the fact that I have dared to stand up against the pre-destined order of things, like the people who voted for Nader. Perhaps it is simply the fact that I misspelled the word "apocalyptic".
In either case, tonight has cemented my faith in the ability of the American people to find the most radioactive crud they possibly can and make it president for eight years.
A few days ago as I clocked in for work I commented on the nearness of the democratic primaries. One of the supervisors snorted. "It doesn't matter" he said. "Clinton and Obama are both socialists. What we need is another president like Reagan." I lifted a quizzical eyebrow. I had never understood the logic of Reagan's disciples, but I had learned not to comment on it. The man continued. "Reagan made the country feel good about itself!" he said.

I pondered this, and concluded that he was right. Reagan did make the country feel good about itself. On the other hand, so did cannabis. Unfortunately for the republican faithful, Reagan has since passed on to the land where seventy-two brown eyed houri will wait upon him, eternal virgins whom he may repeatedly deflower, or whatever version of paradise it is that neocons believe in. In any case, Reagan has passed on. Weed, however, is still very much alive. Not only that, but it has a strong international influence, good trade connections, and is a favorite with many in our armed forces. Combine that with weed's ability to ease both the physical and financial pains of seniors, and you have a good presidential candidate!

Weed for president! (hey, it's better than Hillary)

"Yes, I inhaled. That was the point" -Barack Obama

In case any of my friends read this: get a grip guys it's a political statement. I've never even seen the stuff.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Misplaced Recesses of My Heart

I’m feeling about as selfish as I’ve ever felt, which might show a lack of feeling. But right now I’m numb to both need and passion, so it’s to be expected. It’s all so confusing you see, when love and hate have mixed and burned each other out, leaving the charred remains of a once vibrant soul. Or perhaps it was never vibrant. Maybe I’ve just been fooling myself into thinking I’m something great, when I’m really not.
I’m hurt, crawling back and grasping for vanishing wisps of ground I once thought solid. Right is right, and wrong is wrong, until wrong is right and right is wrong of course. How can one right hate another? How can love fight love? My cherished love fights against my cherished truths, and my good friends turn against each other. I long to hold you in my arms, but you slash at my heart, wounding my foolish pride and cherished memories. I heard that I’m to blame; that I’ve done that and worse. I’d give it all and leave nothing for myself, if only I could understand. Is this a universe of thought and feeling, or am I, like Icarus, doomed to fall into the cold ocean of a reality void of meaning?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Love Casts Out Fear

I lay in bed at two in the morning, my heart pounding wildly. For the thousandth time I went over the costs of college again, as if repeating the massive numbers would create money in my head. I turned over and tried to calm down. After all, if I didn’t get to sleep I wouldn’t be able to do anything in the morning, when my thoughts actually mattered.
I listened to the steady hum of the fan in the window which as it blew in the warm, humid night air. I tried to calm myself, but my skin tingled with the physical pain of anxiety. I could both hear and feel my heartbeat over the sound of the fan. I prayed to God, pleading with him to take away my fear.
At the same time I held onto my fear with all the strength I could muster. After all, if I didn’t hold on to fear, how would I prepare for anything? Without fear, I knew I would never be able to get anything done. I realized the absurdity of this clash within my mind, and tried to let go of my fear entirely.
My mind circled around the list of tasks that I needed to do, endlessly and thoughtlessly. It lit upon a particularly unpleasant one: tithe. I realized that it had been months since I had paid tithe. A pile of pay stubs lay on the desk, waiting for my attention. There was probably another hundred and fifty dollars that I couldn’t count on. I wondered when I would be able to pay the tithe. Malachi 3:10 shoved its way into my mind, clamoring to be heard above the crowd of other thoughts. I decided I would pay my tithe that Sabbath.
A roar of disapproval arose among the thoughts in my mind. A terror that was disproportional to the amount of money surged palpably through every nerve and vein, causing me to groan and turn over. I tried to grab my fear out of the darkness and hold it in front of me. It struggled like a living creature, fighting and fleeing from my grasp. Finally I realized what it was.
I feared that I would commit then fail: that I would not be able to go forward or back. Deep down inside I feared that life would become stuck. Somehow I thought that if I failed, life would stop right there like a game of cards when all of the options are gone. I dropped my fear and laughed at it, it was a stupid thought.
But the fear was still there, lurking, waiting to tear my very soul and break the fragile strands of reason that held my mind together.
I prayed again, pleading with God to make everything better, I didn’t even know what better meant. I pondered all the other people praying to God at that moment. Sincere prayers and prayers made out of habit, selfish prayers and selfless prayers, it made me seem very small at that moment.
“In and out and up and down and round and round until he found that life flows on from earth to ground, and ground is all but solid.” The words passed quickly through my mind. I contemplated them, not knowing where they had come from or what they meant.
Why did I follow God anyway? Sometimes it seemed to me that I did it simply because it was the right thing to do. I contemplated this reason and came to the conclusion that it was the wrong one. Not morally wrong per say, but simply a futile pursuit. One cannot be a living sacrifice because it’s “the right thing to do”. No, one donates money to charities because it is the right thing to do, and mails letters with a return address because it is the right thing to do. All this is well and good, but it is most assuredly the wrong reason to go live a life.
I thought, trying to come up with the right reason. At that moment I realized the purity of good and evil. On one hand stood pure, self sacrificial love. On the other stood darkness, hatred, fear and distruction. In between stood I, created by one and dying of the other. I stared in the face of good, and at that moment I wasn’t sure that “good” was such a jolly thing as I had always supposed. Good was sacrificing one’s self to help free the world from the cancer of sin that had engulfed it. Good was an omnipotent being seeing all of time, and deciding to die for my sins before I had committed them. The thought struck me hard (as thoughts sometimes do, when we hear them for the first time after hearing them all our lives). My greatest heights of achievement were just as irrelevant as my most abysmal failures. It was as if everything was happening in one instant. The universe WAS. I pictured God outside of time, staring at that which was, and is and will be, but not seeing any of them that way. The universe simply was, exploding in on brief yet never ending instant of expression.
And even though God could see through both ends of eternity, he foolishly decided to die for humanity.
My mind slowly fell back to earth. The world, the school, the room and the fool lying in it all seemed peacefully irrelevant. If I could live a life of infinite luxury, yet because of it one soul was lost, what kind of exchange would that be? I knew what good was. At that moment, good was the hand that put my tired mind to rest. For all moments, good was the force I would attempt to follow, sacrificing myself to drive out fear, hatred, and all other things but love.