Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pavlov To My Dog

The title of this blog post originates from a Pretender quote. I bring it up because I've been attempting to train Bella, Micki's (and now also my) black lab, to do a few different (and ever so slightly amusing) things. I'm working on 1. Having her come to my side when I say "Heel", 2. Teaching her to associate the sound of a duck (from my iPod's alarm) with me getting her leash for a walk, and 3. Getting her to walk in between our mailbox and our neighbor's mailbox when returning home. So far only "heel" is sinking in, but I'm hopeful for the other two conditioning treatments as well. I'll be sure to update if anything cool happens.

"Iiiiiiiii've played the field, the game, the park, the arcade....."

I started studying the 1200+ page manual for the SOA's Exam C today. It's kind of fun, but fairly time-consuming. Moments, expectations, skewness, and kurtosis are exciting only the first 8 dozen times you encounter them.

I also finished The Hunger Games today. Great book. I'm anxious to finish the next two, but I don't see how they'll be able to match the excitement of the first. That book along with has inspired me to try to be more epic on a daily basis.

The New Year is coming soon. If the world wasn't ending in 2012, it'd be really exciting. 2012 = 2*2*503 just in case you were wondering.

I might be a Dr. Pepper addict. If anyone wants to help me start a DP-holics Anonymous, let me know. Just be sure to think of a good fake name before contacting me. Only so many people can call themselves Bob before it starts getting confusing.

"And for the rest of you: jury duty, jury duty, blackmail, eviction notice, pink slip....." - The the the the, THE GRINCH!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Follow Suit and Follow Me

To all the readers, the writers, the Raiders: I greet you in the name of Golb, the god of blog. His throne is a QWERTY keyboard, and his beard is a brilliant shade of automatic black. His language is HTML, and his kingdom exists throughout all runtimes and cyberspaces. He can be reached on his cell at 426-4652. Not really.

I'm a married man. It's very wonderful. My last name changed and everything. Not really.

Michelle and I went on a cruise for our honeymoon. I ate SO much good food that it was absolutely ridiculous. I've developed a new obsession with buttered sourdough rolls. When we got back, I read a week's worth of posts from and almost died from the overwhelming sense of awesome. That guy should post more often.

If Pandora was left on long enough, would it repeat songs or run out of songs?

I'm in the process of building a dresser. It's not that much fun.

"So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it." - Willy Wonka. This quote is the story of my life at the moment.

When I think of the best video games ever, I think of Paper Mario, then Animal Crossing, then Call of Duty. It's a strange combination, I know.

I hope to eat Cheesy Potatoes soon. Heavy whipping cream can do a world of good to almost any food.

Christmas is coming so very soon. It's amazing how a Caribbean cruise can distort one's sense of season. Only watching The Santa Clause will cure my inability to believe I'm already this far into December.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December

The first day of the month is always exciting. Don't ask me why, because I don't know. It just is. (I started typing this post yesterday, but didn't publish until Dec 2nd.)

"Mawwiage is whut bwings us togever today. Mawwiage, that bwessed awwangement, that dweem within a dweem." I'm getting married to my best friend in 8 days, and I'm just a little bit less than a lotta bit nervous. I'm keeping my mind on the calming things: the bachelor party, the food, and the cruise.

Sometimes, some things somewhat confuse me. For example, people. People are quite odd. For example, one of my professors recently described himself as an atheist who is "subconsciously Buddhist" and who reads the Bible "for fun". What does that even mean? I wanted to insult him, his intelligence, and his (lack of) religion, but I didn't. I'll wait at least until final grades are released.

I'm very excited about next semester. Only 4 classes, only 16 credits, only 3 days a week. Two glorious weekdays off: Tuesday and Thursday. Of course, I have to study a 1000+ page study manual and hopefully pass Exam C in February and Exam MLC in May. And I need to apply for jobs. But it will be a good semester anyways; I've already decided.

I like Checkerburgers. I like Wendy's sea-salt french fries. I like Cocoa Puffs. I like food. Quite a lot. I'm thinking about the cruise buffets, and I'm starving already.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Question Mark Cane

I recently started using StubleUpon. I confined my searches to the Logic category and ended up finding a riddle website. I was solving riddles for hours yesterday. Here are three of my favorites:

Riddle 1: You are on an island surrounded by natives and visitors. The natives always lie. The visitors always tell the truth. All natives and visitors answer yes and no questions with the words "da" and "ba" but you don't know which means yes and which means no. You wish to know the true answer to a yes/no question (for simplicity: let's say the question is: Is today Wednesday?) but you may only ask one person one question. How do you do it?

Riddle 2: You walk into a room with 3 primates in it. There's a chimpanzee holding two bananas, an orangutan holding a stick, and a gorilla holding nothing. Which is the smartest primate in the room?

Riddle 3: All violins in a certain city were produced by Esau or one of his sons, or by Jacob or one of his sons. The violins are labeled to reveal the identity of their maker. Esau and his sons always label their violins truthfully; Jacob and his sons always label their violins with falsehoods. As an example, collectors figured out that a violin labeled "This violin was not made by any son of Esau." was made by Esau Sr. The most desirable violins are so labeled that a connoisseur can tell that it must have been made by one of the fathers, either Esau Sr. or Jacob Sr., but cannot tell which. How might such a violin be labeled?

Answer 1: You ask this: "If I were to ask you 'Is today Wednesday?', would you say ba?" If the person responds ba, it is Wednesday. If they respond da, it is not Wednesday. Interestingly, you can obtain the truth without knowing whether you are speaking to a native or visitor and without knowing what ba and da mean.

Answer 2: You are. Hopefully.

Answer 3: There are multiple solutions. One is: This violin was made by Esau Sr or by one of Jacob's sons.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bridge Club Soda Cracker Barrel of Monkeys

Orlando is a space-time anomaly. One can easily drive into the city in no time at all, but it always takes about five times as long to get out. It's like a black hole right in the middle of central Florida.

My facial hair disgusts me. It grows just fast enough to be a nuisance but no faster. I'd like to try wearing a goatee, but I'd have to look like an idiot for about 8 years while I was busy growing it.

Christmas music is a sacred holiday tradition, and I can't understand why anyone would want to violate that tradition by listening to it on any day before Thanksgiving. You wouldn't eat hot dogs and blow up your neighborhood a month before July 4th, would you? And you wouldn't eat Peeps on a day besides Easter, would you? I thought not. So shape up and shut off the Jingle Bells for at least 4 more days. Please.

I want to become really good at a game. I don't care whether it's bridge, chess, spades, or Brockian Untra-Cricket. I just want to become good enough to play socially in a club or something. I think it'd be fun.

I'll never love Dennis Haysbert again.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ecclesiastes, Extra Credit, Engagement

I recently finished listening to The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. It was a curious book. My favorite thing about it was that it was read by William Hurt, who has an awesome voice and can do all the accents beautifully.
Literally the only thing that happened was a lot of eating in cafes and drinking in bars and watching bullfights. The starring female had two affairs. The starring male and female never ended up together. They only hypothesized that they would have been happy together, if they had ever really been together. Quite an uneventful book. But well written and well read.

I attended a lecture for extra credit in my economics course. The speaker was Famous Dave, an American Indian who openly admitted to having had problems with alcohol abuse. I read a book by the light of my phone the whole time. I never knew that 'Entrepreneurial Lecture' translated to 'Self-Help Seminar'. It lasted a little over an hour and when it ended, I realized that I could have easily walked into the lobby after the talk and recieved an attendance card without ever having to actually go into the auditorium. It was depressing.

3 weeks and 1 day until the wedding. The marriage counseling is over, but I still have some vital information to glean. I plan on watching Inception, The O Network, and Twilight for the rest of my marriage advice. I hope you've detected the sarcasm I just employed. Because I was employing it.

I am of facets.

Monday, November 14, 2011

For The Win?

I played the battle of the sexes on MIX 1051 again this morning. I won again.

I got a $50 gift card to Subway, but I'm not sure I want to trek to the other side of Orlando to pick it up from the station. I also won tickets to Festival of Trees. Slightly less epic than Wicked.

I've listened to the morning show for some time now, and I enjoy it. Having contributed 2 wins to the guy's side of BOTS, I feel like a (very small) part of the station.

I never saw a picture of the show's hosters (Scott, Jay, and Dana) until this morning. I didn't realize that I had a mental picture of how I thought they looked until I saw them and realized how wrong I was.

In other news:
Last Man Standing is hilarious. It may just beat Home Improvement.
I love when daylight savings time ends. The light is just perfect.
I now have 5 followers. One for each of the basic elements of nature: Earth, Wind, Fire, Water, and Plastic. I'll leave it to you to decide who's who.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Shared Experience Simulator

Here's an idea: Shared Experience Simulators

What if we could get an electronic hookup to the part of a person's brain that receives impulses from our five (or more) senses. We could record those impulses and play them back for others to experience.

If I turn on my SES recorder for an hour at the beach, then I can later distribute that recording to others. They can play it back and experience every feeling, sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch, that I felt during that hour. It'd be a first person experience in which the person does (in their mind) exactly everything that I did in that hour except for knowing my thoughts (since they're not part of the sensory impulses). They wouldn't be able to change any of my actions or interact with their environment in any way different from the way that I did it originally.

If this idea could be created, the implications are endless.

Implication 1: Blind people could see. People in comas could experience some form of life again. People in wheelchairs could feel the sensation of walking (which might help their own recovery). Old people could do things their body couldn't handle. Nervous people could try a dangerous sport or activity without the risk.

Implication 2: Students could go through a day in the life (or an hour or whatever) of a person in a certain career as an epic form of job shadowing.

Implication 3: Imsomniacs could playback recordings of other people asleep and still get the sensation of sleeping and be rested.

Implication 4: The military could torture people by making them experience an SES playback. This would involve pain, but wouldn't hurt the victim's physical body in any way.

Implication 5: You could stream your SES recording live to the internet and let people download it from your site.

Implication 6: Celebrities and movie stars could make MASSIVE amounts of money by selling 1-time-use SES recordings from when they're doing a concert or making a movie.

Implication 7: Inception style recording within a recording within a recording. To prevent this, the SES could be designed so that it can't record and play at the same time.

Implication 8: The implications are endless.

Let me know some of your ideas based on the idea of a Shared Experience Simulator.
The comment box is just below.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

North by Northbrook

You know what's depressing? No matter how often I check my blog, there's never any new posts.

Thursday and Friday. Melbourne to Charlotte to Chicago to Charlotte to Melbourne. 4 plane rides, 1 of which is first class. 2 limo rides. 1 shuttle. 1 hotel. 1 job interview. Wish me luck.

Little known fact: 99% of people make up 99% of people.

I'm going to try to finish my portfolio now.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Beauty is for Beasts

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! The alarm clock noisily announced the arrival of 4 a.m.

Chi Carroll 003E00 woke immediately, showered, shaved, dressed, ate, and was outside his apartment in a matter of 7 minutes. Glancing nervously at his watch, he strode purposefully away from the twenty-story building where he lived. His workplace was south 4 blocks, west 2 blocks from his apartment building, but he was walking in a very peculiar direction. He was walking east.

It was illegal, of course, to walk east before noon. It was just as illegal, in fact, as walking west after noon. Both crimes were punishable with a week of confinement in the Underground, the abandoned subway system beneath the city. The laws had been established almost 100 years prior, and few people still knew why it was that the laws were in place. The laws had been established as part of the New Age of Reason, a Unified World project designed to fix everything: unemployment, crime, pollution, unhappiness, and religion. The plan to bring about the N.A.R. project was twofold: 1. greatly dull peoples' emotions with mind altering drugs, and 2. leave all decisions to computers. Building computers smart enough to develop solutions to unemployment, pollution, and so on was the easy part. Designing a drug that repressed human emotions was also relatively easy. The hard part was keeping those emotions repressed.

"Beauty is powerful. It's much more powerful than any chemical substance known to man." - Delta Alzheimer 9B1405, a Unified World physician

To Be Continued...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Death of a Client

My orthodontics of late has been miserable at best.

First, an appliance was installed that created a massive gap between my two front teeth. Then they covered my teeth in braces to close the gap back. Now they take off and reinstall the braces on a monthly basis. It hurts worse than enything I've ever experienced. It feels like they're ripping teeth out of my mouth while simultaneously pushing other teeth deep into my gums.

In short, it hurts.

It may eventually all be worth it.

But eventually seems a long way away.

Until then, my face is braced.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

ATM's in England

6 college classes. 1 part-time job. 3 students to tutor.

Life is busy. Life is good.

My 6 college finals will be spread out in 5 different days. Simply beautiful.

Studying for Exam MFE is much fun. It seriously is.

I am going to remove my teeth, one by one. And then I'm getting dentures. And then I'm suing myself for developing such a messed up mouth.

I've apparently already read "The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul". Time for Adam's third Dirk Gently novel: "The Salmon of Doubt."

11 weeks until I am a married man, and I still haven't hired the Jewish dancing top hat guys. I'm a slacker, I know.

If anyone finds my phone charger, please fax it to me immediately.

"I know that dreams come true. And the proof is that I have you."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cacoethes Scribendi

A novel, a novella, and a novelette were walking in the woods.

The novel said to the novella, "You're short." The novella said to the novelette, "You're shorter." The novelette pulled out a matchbox and set fire to other two, laughing while he did it.

The novelette then slipped out of its disguise and revealed its true identity as a work by Stephen King. The real novelette was bound and gagged and sinking to the bottom of a river close by. A wandering epic transcribed the entire event upon itself and added a good bit of fiction about a hero with a funny name rescuing the novelette and restoring order to the universe. A tragedy stumbled into the scene, mistook it for a farce, and completely failed to alert the editor. The result was that an excessively pretentious piece by Robert Frost was catapulted into undeserved fame completely by accident.

Shakespeare was too busy being the main character in a romance to notice, while Douglas Adams insisted that nothing mattered, saving it had something to do with tea or 42. Lewis Carroll went to his room to work out the situation with a deck of cards and a pencil.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fall Leaves, But Always Comes Back

First day of school! First day of school!

I never, ever, ever cease to be excited about the first day of school. In every step of my education - kindergarten, middle school, high school, community college, and now UCF - I get this glorious feeling right about fall. It's the feeling of expectation, the hunger for new knowledge. If I may borrow Reagan's words, it's the "hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths." It's that "special grace, that special spirit that says, 'Give me a challenge, and I'll meet it with joy.'"

I'm now about to start my third semester at UCF (ninth semester of college counting BCC and summer semesters), and my feelings are as mixed a bag as ever there was. On one hand, I feel as though I've been going to school forever and that I'm ready for it to end. On the other, school is still fun, learning is still important, and I still love briskly walking across campus with the wind in my face. I'll never feel quite as comfortable as when I have the weight of a dozen oversized textbooks in my backpack, and my glasses, phone, keys, wallet, and iPod all stuffed in my jean's pockets.

This semester, I'm taking six classes: one online economics course with John Hilston, one finance and one statistics with Liquiang Ni, a writing class with Clayton Benjamin, another statistics with Nizam Uddin, and some class in computer science that involves Boolean algebra and discrete structures taught by Shaojie Zhang.

After this semester, only four classes will stand between me and the real world. It's the world of careers, employers, commutes and corner offices, desks and deadlines, punch clocks and paychecks. I'm so excited, so scared, so hesistant, and so completely ready to be there. But until then...

I am a student. I am a senior. And I love school.

There will always be something magical about fall.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Jibber Jabber Wocky Talky

I wrote the majority of this years ago. It's increasingly nonsensical. Enjoy.

Upon a time, too long ago,
Lived one gwux man, named Freegoy Flo.
A mencil man, he prethied much
And caused the gods to fight, as such:
Zeus would steal all Hanwop’s sheep
And Gertha branged on Dempla’s yeep
And as they fought and shagramed whex
The people were in truth, perplexx.

Frency dwith the mangled yore
Until all sport became a boar.
Down and up, the fyzer flew,
Flue straight fast and tarried too.
The shadows lengthened, tumult rose
And with each dweth, the hums suppose.
Unite all though had conquered grim,
Standfast markwash kickle sim.

With vorpal sword, volumptious might,
He killed the antwang bwilf its fright.
Longtime he crazelled in the grane,
Longtime the sound rang tru agane.
And with each frethsome step he welched,
He swallowed, gulped, and blightly belched.
With trinian blood upon his coat,
He ended thus his merthvan zoat.

And tho the zote had ended thus,
The teedle cream takes crove a fuss.
Tay wocked a run, umbril a zoo
Of angel's rays, congruence too.
Naver rocking, alway bold
Of ancient reins, of millow's gold.
Bringlee zightly, borth ungrave.
Hadle cramecay, chuters trave.

Friday, July 29, 2011


Everything you are about to read is true. The names, however, have NOT been changed to protect the innocent. Why not, you may ask? It is because I, the author, am not among the innocent and therefore don't give a flying toss about what happens to them. After all, the mothers and fathers of these innocent bystanders spent a good deal of time trying to think of decent names for their children, and I think we should show them the respect of not changing said names at the first sign of conflict. As the introduction comes dangerously close to being longer than the body of this post, I begin:

A recent study by several well-known highly respected child psychologists showed that 85 percent of everything a person will ever know is learned before he/she turns 8 years old. Another recent study showed that 85 percent of these psychologists were high like kites on Charlie-Sheen-grade weed at the time of their study. In addition, they refuted the original findings. They claimed that 85% of everything that we learn in life, is learnt during our teenage years while working our minimum-wage summer jobs. I tend to agree with the second group's findings.

Things I've learned as a summer camp counselor:
1. Chicken fingers are of God. Tacos are of Satan.
2. Almost every facet of a child's behavior, every defect in their personality, is the parent's fault.
3. Kids are like handguns. They can help resolve a situation when they're around, but most of the time someone just ends up getting shot.
4. Kids are strong. No matter how many dodgeballs you throw at them, they keep getting back up.
5. Spades is the best game in the entire world. Bar none.
6. Standing alone in a walk-in freezer gives plenty of time to clear your thoughts. Provided that you don't die of hypothermia first.
7. I would die before I would consider naming my child Alex, Nicholas, Robbie, Johnathan, Bennett, Abrianna, or Burt Reynolds.
8. Any problem can be solved with some combination of lemonade, bandaids, and excessive force.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Of Nominal Anomalies

Creation is an activity best left to God. Any worthwhile science fiction novel can tell you that much. But we humans are an obstinate bunch. We insist that we are capable of creating original thought. We attempt to prove this through new inventions, new religons, and more new boy bands than any one person could begin to shake a stick at.

No matter how hard we try, anything that the human race accomplishes is merely a rearrangement of the original elements of nature established long before our time. But still we persevere. And we continue to embellish our illusions of grandeur by sealing the deal with a namesake.

A dinky yellow cloth was nothing but a dinky yellow cloth until some idiot called it a ShamWow! And that Halfrican (half African) in the Oval Office would have been just some President if not for the bozo who decided to name said Halfrican after the 3 men on the FBI's most wanted list. And a rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but it wouldn't be a rose anymore, now would it?

I have a full share in this futility. My blog posts are often written with little to no regard for the content; I want simply to insert enough words into the body of the post to warrant an interesting title.

Confessions of a blogger with ulterior motives. So sue me.

Sue me now.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Knight's Mare

A dreamer's sleep
Is full of things
That waking eyes
May never see.

When blue and brown
And gray eyes close,
From sleep,
The mind's eye hath arose.

The ghostly spirit
Comes to life
To start the circus
Of the night.

Journeys made
Without one step.
Tall tales told
Without one breath.

Great adventures
Raging on
While millions sleep
Tween dusk and dawn.

Tween dusk and dawn,
The real world dreams
Of wild beasts
And terrible things.

This world of fiction
Is a fact
To those who sleep
And can't look back.

To see their sleeping
Resting heads
And know they're safe
Within their beds.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I would bet hard money that no one on earth is as happy as I am. Life is good.

This mobile text message is brought to you by AT&T

Monday, June 20, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Through the Looking Glass

Factoid 1: It's all in how you look at things.

My ears deem (certain types of) music as beautiful and inspirational. But to the little hammers and strings inside a piano, music is a demanding, tiring ordeal. To an evolutionist, dark matter and dark energy explain all things. But someone who believes the Biblical account of creation is satisfied with the less complicated explanation: "Let there be light." To quote one of my favorite books: "....from here, that looks like a bucket of water...but from an ant's point of view, it's a vast ocean, from an elephant's just a cool drink and to a fish, of course, it's home." - The Phantom Tollbooth

Factual Fact 2: Having an unflawed perception of reality is vital to understanding.

For example, to death, death is life and life is death. But to life, life is life and death is death. Only a neutral observer, such as a zombie, knows the facts of the matter: that life is defined by moving, growing, and breathing whilst death is defined as (the only legal situation in which a citizen is not arrested for) not paying taxes.

Pseudo-fiction 3: Truth is fixed, and it is independent of any one person's point of view.

If the kool-aid has been poisoned, it doesn't matter how many people believe it to be safe. If extra-terrestrials are fiction, it's of no use to continually sing about them in a severely misguided effort to increase one's odds of abduction. And if Charlie Sheen really does have tiger blood, it might be a good idea to stop making fun of him.

Just saying...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Existential Owl City

I'm writing this blog for one reason and one reason alone: I don't want to go a whole month without a blog post. Instead of waiting for a burst of creativity or originality, I will simply write my thoughts. I will push on in a Stallone-esque fashion, never considering the ramifications of choosing mass production over quality or even common sense.

School has been out for almost three weeks. I'm not taking any summer classes, but I am instead focusing on actuarial examinations. On May 31, I will be taking a three hour, thirty question, multiple choice test on probability. And it's so much more difficult than it sounds.

Work starts in a few weeks, but it can't come soon enough for me. I'm getting more than just a little broke. It's a curious feeling when all your financial aid money has been spent, and you're left with just the holes in your pocket's for comfort. I feel a bit like Ebenezer Scrooge minus the part about being old and rich and having a beard or a cool top hat. This leaves only the quality of being a miser (misery?) and being frequented by ghosts. Although in truth, my paranormal experiences of late have been limited at best.

I'm looking forward to taking some trips to IOA/Universal this summer, acing my examinations, and earning some cash. Add a weekly paycheck into my life, and things are going pretty well in my life. Life is good. Really good.

Until we meet again, here's a list of random facts:
I hate voicemails.
I love the music of Adam Young.
Chicken fingers are served at almost every restaurant in America.
Group interviews aren't nearly as bad as one might think.
Fifth and most importantly, the ratio of the number of 4n+1 primes below n to the number of 4n+3 primes below n grows closer to 1 as n approaches infinity.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Physics of Phantasy

Given a dimensionless point, we could define an infinite number of points at different locations throughout the universe.

Given 1 stationary point A and varying another point B, we could define an infinite number of 1-dimensional lines intersecting A. There would exist lines that did not intersect A. Although these lines could be skew, we will call them parallel to the lines intersecting A or B.

Given 2 stationary points A and B, and varying another point C, we could define an infinite number of 2-dimensional planes intersecting A and B. There would exist planes known as parallel planes which did not include A, B, or C.

Given 3 stationary points, A, B, and C, and varying another point D, we could theoretically define an infinite number of spaces intersecting A, B, and C. There would also supposedly exist parallel spaces not containing points A, B, C. D.

Also, the intersection of any two intersecting lines is a point. The intersecting of any two intersecting planes is a line. The logical continuation implies that the intersecting of any two intersecting spaces is a plane.

Summary: Given n stationary points, and varying another point, we could define an infinite number of regions with n+1 dimensions. For any region, there are theoretically parallel regions with the same number of dimensions, which do not intersect the first region. The intersection of any two intersecting n-dimensional regions is a n-1 dimensional region.

Implications: Given the ability to move in a new direction, (such as an ant existing in a plane suddenly gaining flight), we could either 1) Move from our current n space to a n+1 space (i.e. higher dimensions), 2) Move from our current n space to an intersecting n region (i.e. an alternate dimension), or 3) Move from our n-space to a parallel n-region (i.e. a parallel universe). Note that in the cases of 2 and 3, we would not need to retain our newfound ability to move in a new direction.

And there you have it. That's my take on the science of science fiction.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

College Kids

A temporary ending
To the compulsory bending
Of the mind.

As the brilliant and the less-blessed
Still each racing heart within chest
While their crowded minds show progress
They attempt to prove on each test
That they take.

The students all are cramming.
Their heads they all are slamming
'Gainst their palms.

With red bull kegs
They stay awake
Praying for the Lord to take
Great care in making sure they make
A passing grade.

Every morn' of wretched week
An hour late, alarm clocks beep.
Tires squeal and brakes all squeak.
The college kids begin to weep.
They're running late again.

"Overworked" - an understatement,
Panicked feet all pound the pavement.
Grading curves anticipated
Never seem to help.

Three exams or more, per day,
Three hours long apiece, they slay
The sense of hope with quick decay.
The student's thoughts try not to sway
From task at hand.

But ink and white won't ever stop
They blur with every tear that drops
Til finally the time runs out.

Professors' hearts refuse to flutter,
But their TA's begin to mutter
Dirty words about the utter
Monotony of grading.

Finally, final grades deployed
Bring screams of pain or cries of joy
That mingle in the madness.

Throughout the halls and dormitories,
The long semester's pains and glories
Are retold in the countless stories
Of students, bold or broken.

Seniors wave a glad goodbye
While freshmen's mothers start to cry.
Sophomores, juniors, heave a sigh:
"Now, here we go again."

Monday, April 4, 2011

Chapter 3 - If Thoughts Could Kill

"He took his vorpal sword in hand: Long time the manxome foe he sought -- So rested he by the Tumtum tree, And stood awhile in thought." - Through the Looking Glass And What Alice Found There

T-minus 12 hours until F-day. In the week since Sid had entered the Tulgey Woods, this would-be-warrior had managed in killing a total of two mosquitoes, three bushes, and a very sarcastic stick. Needless to say, he was getting discouraged. The severe lack of monsters was undermined by the even more severe lack of food. He had run out of hummus and pita bread earlier that day.

The absence of food wouldn't have been much of a problem except that after a few hours in the woods, Sid got hungry. That is to say, he wanted to ingest something of substance into his digestive system. In short, he wanted edible things in his mouth. In other words, Sid desired to fill the large hole in his stomach by means of nourishment in food form. Within Sid's mind, the only thoughts were of objects that possessed both eatable and edible qualities.

"Take berries for instance," thought Sid, "Berries are both eatable and edible. If I had a berry right now, I could do one of two things with it. 1: I could eat it, or 2: I could et it."

"And to be sure," he started to say aloud, "I would do one of those two things very quickly. This is for two reasons. 1: I am very hungry, and 2: I strongly wish to eat."

He continued while getting louder, "I may also, under certain circumstances, such as the one in which I now find myself, even be persuaded to look for a second berry after finishing my business with the berry of whose existence I hypothesized first."

His voice rose until he was shouting: "And I shall do to that berry as I did to the first! And if I find a third, like unto the second, I shall invoke upon that berry the fate prescribed by my treatment of that berry's predecessors! AND FURTHERMO...."

But that was as far as Sid got with his queer mixture of logic, fantasy, and madness. He had collapsed from exhaustion and understandably, hunger. Shortly afterward, Ishmael discovered the boy while walking home from work. Being the kind-hearted individual that he was, Ishmael delivered a nice sound kick to the head of the misplaced youth.

Sid woke up swinging his sword wildly. "What the cheesing father of Frankfurt!?!"

"Are you all right?" asked Ishmael calmly, "I saw you trip and hit your face. It looked pretty bad."

Sid rose carefully to his feet, "It feels like I've been kicked in the head."

"Yeah, that happens sometimes," replied Ishmael, "You're lucky that you're still alive. Not everyone survives the Tumtum tree." Ishmael pointed upwards.

"Tumwhat huh?" asked Sid. He looked up to see the branches, leaves, and fruit, of an enormous tree. At least, he thought that it was a tree. But it didn't touch the ground. The trunk was about 15 feet off the ground.

"Tumtum tree. It possesses magical powers. If you stand beneath its branches, your thoughts become focused on the most trivial of things possible. I once spent 4 hours thinking of ways to improve my wife's eggplant casserole. I was so wrapped up in trying to decide between adding paprika or serving it with potatoes. that I almost forgot to keep breathing."

"What'd you do?"

"I ended up sneaking it one bite at a time to the family cat. I would have gotten away with it too, if the cat hadn't died."

"That's not what I meant," said Sid, tiring quickly of the pointless conversation, "Anyways, it was slightly bemusing to meet you. I guess I'll see you around." Sid made a motion that suggested that it was time for Ishmael to leave.

Ishmael obligingly turned and walked away with the parting remark, "I wouldn't hang around here for long. I hear Mr. Wellkey will be by any moment."

Sid's heart skipped a beat in excitement. He looked down to the sword in his hand. The blade gleamed in the bits of sunlight that escaped through the leaves of the Tumtum tree overhead. The sheer vorpality of it was enough to make a grown man cry.

"It won't be long now," thought Sid nervously, "Time to be a hero."

Don't miss Chapter 4 - "Mortal Combat" or "From Whence Cometh the Whiffling?"

Friday, April 1, 2011

Part 2 - Like Father, Like Son

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun the frumious Bandersnatch" - Lewis Carroll

T-minus 1 week until F-day.

It was the kind of morning in which it seemed like something should happen. And indeed, "happen" was exactly was something did. And that something was this:

The day broke.

And on this especial morning, the day broke with an excessive amount of noise and commotion. The Royal Guard of Those Individuals Who Possess a Certain Knack for Fixing Things Which Break was immediately summoned to the scene of the supposed accident.

"First the suicidal Dumpy fellow and now this," muttered the first guard, "I need a raise."

"Well, look at it this way, First Guard, we did get to sharpen our 3d puzzle skills" said the second cheerily.

"That's all well and good, Mr. Second, but look at this mess," said First while pointing at the ground where the wounded day lie, "This is isn't a normal daybreak. This day actually broke!"

Second quickly acknowledged First's point and phoned his counterpart: Corporal II of The Royal Guard of Those Individuals Who Possess a Certain Knack for Fixing Things Which Broke. By the time the corporals arrived, the day was quite dead and forever broken beyond repair.

First Guard was rather angry after wasting his morning on something so far out of his jurisdiction. He had missed his favorite morning routine of watching his elderly father balance eels on the end of his nose and had also forgotten to arrange for a ride to school for Sid, his son. It didn't much matter though. Sid played hooky with the wild abandon of someone playing Russian Roulette with an empty gun.

The rules of hooky are simple. It's a sort of hide and go seek with the exception that if you're found, you must lie your face off until the seeker goes away. This game is played as sort of a warm-up to Cops and Robbers, which is then followed by Let's See How Many Times I Can Bang My Head Against the Prison Bars or Batman and Robbers depending on skill level and the severity of one's crimes.

When First got back to his house, he found that Sid had gotten a head start in the endless, pointless game of Hooky. First headed straight to The Hummus House. There he found Sid.

"Sid! I knew you'd be here!" exclaimed the worried father.

"How'd you find me?" asked Sid calmly. "Was it the note I left that said: 'I'll be at the Hummus House.' that clued you off?

"Well, yes....partially that," First coughed nervously, "but it was mostly father's intuition."

"Anyways," he continued, "You should come home. It's dangerous to be out on a broken day. Anything can happen. There are bandersnatchs and Jubjub birds everywhere!"

Sid put all his effort into looking as bored as humanly possible.

"Keep quiet, father dearest. I've decided to go have some fun with this." Sid unsheathed an impossibly large sword with a thousand pointed rivets. It looked more like a chainsaw or cactus than a sword, yet Sid tossed it from hand to hand with ease.

First looked a little surprised, "When I was a boy, I asked permission before I bought some piece of vorpal junk on craigslist. Now put that thing away before you poke someone's face off."

"Please, Dad? What if I just go and kill some monsters real quick?" asked the innocent little boy armed with the weapon of mass destruction. "I promise I'll be back in time for dinner."

"I suppose that's fine...but try not to get into trouble."

"Bye! Thanks, pops!" And with that Sid left, and skipped bravely into the woods with his meat cleaver in hand.

First started to order some hummus to-go, but then remembered something. He rushed out the front door of the Hummus House and called into the distance: "And stay away from Esquire Wellkey!!!

But it was too late. He had already gone.

Up next, Part 3 - "The Thrill of the Hunt" or "Here Wocky, wocky, wocky..."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Episode 1 - Stuff and Nonsense

"Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe" - Jabberwocky

But who am I to judge? If I was a tove in the prime of my life reduced to living in a wabe, I'd probably be gyring and gimbling a fair amount too. There was one particularly pathetic little tove, (we'll call him Ishmael) living in the most dangerous part of the forest, who had to share a habitat with the likes of the Jubjub bird, a Bandersnatch, and a psychotic, wild-eyed teenager wielding a sword. But that was all after Frabjous Day. The real story begins long before the frabjoulity of F-day; it begins at a time in Ishmael's life that was almost as sad, desperate, and pointless as the aforementioned. It begins here.

Fast-rewind to T-minus 2 years before F-Day. Ishmael can't stand his job, but keeps forgetting to file a Midlife Crisis vacation request. He had once been prematurely gray, but he's now prematurely bald. And worst of all, Ishmael's wife just recently discovered that his "wiffle ball league" doesn't actually "exist" and is, in fact, just an cover for him to spend time at the neighborhood pub, The Tulgey Tarts.

Ishmael's only friend in the world is a dragon-like creature, J. Edward Wellkey, with whom he shares an unlikely friendship consisting mainly of bi-weekly seances held with the primary objective of getting stock tips from the world beyond. So far, the only person they'd been able to contact was an individual who wasn't taking the whole "dead" thing very well. The advice they received was incredibly obscene and had much more to do with self-inflicted pain and embarrassment than stock futures. When the two friends weren't lighting incense candles and holding hands in a very no-homo sort of way, Ishmael and Edward would spend the day walking along the beach. Sometimes they took bets on which celestial object would win control of the sky. Other times, they listened quietly in hopes of hearing the mysterious Walrus recite. But most often of all, the pair would sit on the beach for hours just smoking marijuana and writing limericks such as these:

Ishmael's limerick:
There was once found a platter of tarts
In care of the brave knave of hearts.
His own mouth he fed,
Then "Off with his head!"
He now rests in peace in two parts.

And Edward's:
There once was a man from a place,
Who existed as matter in space.
He lived during time,
And enjoyed a nice rhyme,
Although occasionally he wrote in free verse.

Coming soon: Episode 2 - "In One Auditory Canal..." or "When I Was Your Age"

Friday, March 18, 2011

"Yes sir, Mr. Eastwood"

Could it be caused by the bumper crop of four-leaf clovers this year? Does it have to do with global warming? Is it possibly because the Sacred Shrine of Bearded Women has been rebuilt in an undisclosed basement in southern Philly? Whatever the reason, whatever the cause, and whatever the weak electromagnetic forces that brought it about, luck is in the air.

This morning I called into the radio station of MIX 105.1 (known better to the Romans as 1009 CV.I) with the goal of being the fifteenth caller . I was caller numbers 3, 11, and magic number 15. I enlisted in the game of Battle of the Genders. My goal was simple: to answer multiple-choice questions from female pop culture whilst my female opponent answered questions concerning the chromosomally advantaged sex.

The questions asked were unrelated to the answers so I'll provide only the latter here: Gucci. Jessica Simpson. Domenica. I got the first two questions correct using a complicated Nash equilibrium strategy known as random guessing. I missed the third question when my opponent started using witchcraft and sorcery. Lastly, I stated my name and correctly identified gold's counterpart to win the tie-breaker and thus, the game.

Now on an unknown Thursday at 8 PM at the Bob Carr, my sweetheart and I are to watch Wicked as performed by a 1000 mile displaced Broadway cast. I hope to bring home a Munchkin. I think that they're free with admission. Or something like that.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish Drinking Blog

If I was more interested in spending the holiday behind bars, I would don a pair of snazzy gloves and practice fierce finger aerobics on the scores of students walking barefacedly around campus without any hint of green vesture. It seems that anyone you ask will claim to be half or one quarter Irish, German, or some equally impressive ethnicity such as Icelandic. However as soon as a holiday involving colorful commitment to tradition arises, most individuals cry about conformity and just grab the nearest clean shirt they can find. It's a shame. A shameful shame.

To make matters worse, if you confront one of these confirmed rebels and question them concerning shades of jade, emerald, and lime, they will do one of three appalling grotesque things. They may threaten physical harm in exchange for the violation of their personal space. They may grin coyly and ask you exactly how certain you are that they aren't wearing anything of the desired hue. Or lastly, they may be a hopeless, loveless, desperate fool who all too eagerly suggests that you apply the prescribed punishment as much as you desire.

Patriotism is a dying dream. Mel Gibson seems to be the last person to really espouse this holy purpose made famous by his last minute 360 turn and lunge. You know someone is cool when they can make a violent piercing of a fellow actor's stomach translate into love for country. Unfortunately Gibby was not wearing green at the time, so the event must be chalked up to another Hollywood distortion of a painfully disappointing reality.

Happy St. Patty's Day, to the lepers and leprechauns alike.
Drinks all around.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Where is the love...

Beauty permeates every fiber of every particle of nature. There is so much potential for happiness for every person in every place at every moment. So why is there no peace on a personal or global scale? Simply put: self-love. Life is one giant prisoner's dilemma. We could all obtain great happiness simultaneously had we sufficient respect for others, however a purely dominant strategy seems to be the only game theory inherent in human nature.

In a perfect world, everyone would skip along merrily, holding hands, cloning unicorns, and doing other unspeakably naive things. But soon after this utopia forms, the most intelligent (or greediest) person will notice that they could be ever so slightly happier by taking more than their fair amount of time at the unicorn-cloning machine. The rest of the less de-evolved individuals soon follow suit, until government, and therefore welfare, is invented to redistribute the unicorn supply. Unicorn unions are created and demand equal rights for the hornies (or as they like to be called: individuals with aesthetically gifted foreheads). The final blow to happiness comes when the uni-union lobbies for the nation to abandon the unicorn horn standard, and instead back paper money with fairy dust. This obviously creates problems as the world's wealthiest citizens develop a nasty habit of floating into space whilst muttering quietly to themselves about the second bar on the right and straight shots all morning.

I said all that to say this: if we become more interested in society than ourselves, something nice might happen. But perhaps not. It's hard to tell.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Free WiFi

Something that irks me: Substandard internet connections.

The internet is a cruel mistress. Sort of like fate, the sea, and the last 3 bowls of chili at a family reunion. There is always just enough of a connection to allow you to listen to the first 8 seconds of a song, read the first 4 status updates on facebook, or check your 2 most recent (and ironically, least important) e-mails.

It's enough to make you violently wring the neck of a small dingo, yet not quite enough to make you actually go out and find the dingo in question.

And so here we are in a sad period of time, known deceptively as the 21st century, spending our day alongside an unsanitary number of dingos, humming quietly to ourselves the first few words of the week's most popular song.

This being said, I am offering a reward of $0.05 US to anyone who will bring me the head of either Al Gore or his long-deceased female alter ego Maria Von Trapp.

PS. The reward will be doubled if the head of either individual is still connected to a body.