Friday, June 30, 2006

The results are in...

I earned an "A" in the class.

I feel a little like Andy Dufresne scrawling that first mark on the prison wall to mark the passing of a year. How many were on the wall before he got out? Tons, right?

Same thing here. One down. Infinity to go. Looking forward to the sewer crawl, though.

I Am Nuts

I turned in my final yesterday. Now, I just wait a few days to learn the grade and confirm that I kept my A. Hopefully, I didn't screw it up. I don't think that I did but it's always a possibility.

Last night, I had a terrible bout of insomnia. I woke at 2 a.m. and just lay there in bed for two hours. At 4 a.m., I got up, came into the office, sent a few emails, and just surfed the net for a while. When I finally went to sleep at 6:30 a.m., I had the pleasure of dreaming the following:

I'm in the middle of some sort of competition being held on Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta. Honestly, I'm not sure what the contest was about but I know that my two teammates and I had to get stuff out of the back of a pickup truck. I should probably mention that my two teammates were supermodels. Anyway, me and one teammate were standing outside the truck while the other would wrestle with the opposing team for items in the bed of the truck. When the first teammate got an item, she would hand it to teammate who would run it to a checkpoint about 50 yards away and then come back to the truck for the next item. My job: spray them down with a water hose!!! (Seriously, it was a beer commercial without any beer in it.)

Thing were going well, if a bit odd, until Star Frickin' Jones shows up. Like she apparently is in reality, she was a real queen bitch in my dream. She kept complaining about not having a job, bad-mouthing Baba Wawa, and talking up these other projects she had in the works. She was terribly annoying.

Any version of Star Jones is a bad one.

When the competition ended, I was returning home to my in-laws' mountain house. I walked into the newly renovated kitchen complete with built-in handwashing stations. Not just sinks, mind you, but special areas only for washing your hands. I was happy to be home and was looking forward to doing some studying. I went to take a nap because, evidently, hosing down supermodels is tough work. Unfortunately, I couldn't sleep because someone was playing some new age music really loudly. I get off of the sofa and go to investigate. Imagine my surprise when it was none other than the new live-in house guest, Star Jones! I was floored. She was terribly inconsiderate and unapologetic, a pure diva. At that point, I notice that her things, including her new project, were spread all over the house.

Upon investigating, I learn that her new project was a Star Jones board game loosely modeled after Harry Potter. The playing board was purple and featured cartoonish caricatures of her, Brooke Shields, and Tom Selleck. I thought it was pretty dumb concept for a game. It seemed about as overly complicated as the E.T. game I had as a kid. Even so, it looked like the worst game ever. I left Star Jones and her board game project to go make a salad and take a nap.

A much better board game than Star's.
(Even without Shields and Selleck.)

I am nuts.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Like a Glove

Mr. Morrison, this is Charlotte. Charlotte, this is Mr. Morrison.

Swap the suit for an old, faded No Fear muscle shirt, give him a proper mesh-backed hat, and it's like he's always been there.

I pray that he looks like this forever. It makes me feel a little better about my high school days.

FYI, in the follow-up photo, he was sobbing like a baby.


People react strangely in the face of celebrity, don't they? Whether you're an international film star or in a crappy band that plays a monthly gig at the local bar, you're bound to have fans who think you're the bee's knees, the cat's pajamas.

At last night's Braves/Yankees game, an apparently attractive young woman ran onto the field to "touch" Derek Jeter. Of course, she was promptly arrested and led away. (She might've been a little more successful if she wasn't actually wearing a Giambi jersey. I think that's in Chapter 1 of the Basic Stalker Field Guide.)

One of Derek Jeter's crazy fans.

I really know how Derek feels. If I had a dime for each time an overly anxious fan ran up to me to "touch" me, I'd have a few dimes, I assure you. It's a tough life. Here's twenty cents worth:

The Scholar's Fans: Wearing jacket that said "The Rogue" instead of "The Scholar" was his mistake.

The Scholar's Fans: Good effort with the hair but where's the skirt?

What can I say? Fame has is drawbacks.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Final Exams

Four short weeks and I'm taking final exams for Chem 1. I've been really under the gun this week. I've felt a little behind but I'm trying to make up lost ground this morning before picking up the final exam. Yesterday, we were talking about atomic shapes being influenced by polarity and such but the only thing I could see when looking at the diagrams were diabolic snowmen. Frosty gone bad.
I was sitting there looking at this stuff, hearing the professor's voice fade into the background, daydreaming about evil snowmen fighting one another.

I need a break.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Is This Really Necessary?

Tough week at the office, this week. I've been getting up early, making the commute before traffic gets terrible, and really getting some good work done. Something's afoot there; I can feel it. First, security was really difficult about letting me back into the parking deck and into the building on Monday. Then, I get to my desk and it's filled with someone else's stuff. I wrote it off as some sort of practical joke and just kept on working.

At about 3pm today, it hit me: I don't work there anymore!

I quit back in May! What the hell was I doing? Why am I still getting checks? How could I be so confused?

Then, I looked a little more closely at my last two checks and shared a hearty laugh with the security team who were walking me to my car. (Seriously, really nice people who insisted on seeing that I made it safely to my car and started on my way back home.)

No wonder I was confused!!! Here's my check from a couple of weeks ago:

Today's check:

I get it, they're trying to remind me that I don't work there.

"Don't come to work here; you don't have a job" is what they're really telling me.

Honestly, I have a hell of a time keeping it straight. Glad they're looking out for me. Now, if I could just find some way of remembering that I'm living on student loans and my wife's salary, I'd be set. Come to think of it, these things fit the bill for that one too!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Grab Bag...

So far, it's been a tough week. I did, however, earn a 99 on my last test. Things are going well if not easily. I'm scared to think how many minutes of my day are going into each point I've earned in this class. It's insane.

The Answer for Everything
So I'm talking to the gang the other morning just before we submitted our exams. Everyone was pretty spent after stressing over it all damned weekend. Naturally, we started discussing our strategies for getting through the difficult problems and what we put down for your answers.

Know how I got a 99? Below is a sample three part question from the exam and my answer to each part.

  1. The elements in the periodic table are arranged according to similar outer-shell electron configurations. These electron configurations are the basis of the periodic or cyclic patterns in certain physical properties of atoms.
    A) Rank these elements in order of the increasing second ionization energy (IE2). Explain your reasoning. (6 points)
    B) In the p-block elements, does the n value or the Z-eff appear to have greater effect on the atomic radius as you move diagonally from one element to the element one row down and one column to the right? Explain your reasoning. (6 points)
    C) If you obtained the photoelectron spectra of the main-group elements in the second and third periods of the periodic table, what trends would you observe (if any) in (1) number of peaks; (2) position of the peak farthest to the right in each spectrum; and (3) height of peaks? Consider the trends moving down a group and across a row. (6 points)
Answer, part A:
Answer, part B:
Answer, part C:

I think this strategy just might get me through Organic Chemistry in the fall. Hell, it might even make medical school interviews go more smoothly:

"Can you describe your thoughts on the legislation prohibiting partial birth abortion and its overall impact on women's health?"
"Certainly. Might I ask how many puppies are involved?," I'd retort.
"Ummm, well... You see, it's not exactly... I'm not sure how pupp--"
"-- Because if there is one thing that I love, it is a cute, adorable puppy. Let me show you this picture of Mr. Bojangles, my pup," I'd add while unfolding a picture of a puppy.
"Say, that's one cute puppy."

Anyway, it's just a thought.

Don't Sprinkle When You Tinkle
Go ahead and file this under TMI (Too Much Information) about me.

Today, five minutes before lab. I ran to the restroom because I was about to burst. I'm standing at the urinal after a long relieving "evacuation." I button up and go to wash my hands. In the mirror, to my extreme horror, I notice a clearly visible drip.

My mind was racing. What the hell was I going to do? No way in hell I could go back into the classroom. I'm standing alone in the bathroom, having an audible conversation with myself in the mirror. "I'm wearing quick-dry shorts but they won't dry that quick," I yell at myself. I try a paper towel which only spreads it around and makes it even more noticeable. I even bend over and am blowing on my crotch to dry it a little faster. Nothing is working. I'm out of time because class is starting so I resort to the old standby. I turn the water on as high as it'll go, then just put my hands under the faucet and pretend to wash my hands. Instead of using a towel to dry, I immediately shake all the water off ensuring that it goes all over the front of my pants and shirt. Then, I dry my hands and walk back to the class prepared to give the "Looks like there isn't enough money at this damned place to have a pressure control valve on the sink in the men's room. Look at me, I'm soaked!" speech.

Midway to the classroom, however, I just decided to be done with it and take off my pants.

Problem solved.

Godfather III
Today, I get home and sit down for a 15 minute TV break. I flip on the telly and surf past AMC. "Godfather III" is showing. Normally, I'd keep on rolling past that one. Today, though, I stopped to watch what are probably my favorite five minutes of the film. Know which five? The part where Mary Corleone (Sophia Coppola) gets whacked. I didn't even have to waste two and a half hours watching her brutish dialogue delivery or limited acting range while praying she'd just get killed already. Just flipped by it and, BANG! BANG!, her character dies. Awesome. Man, I'm still pissed at her for acting in that one. It could've been a great, or at least really good, film. I'm thrilled that she's taken up writing and directing and left acting to those with some on-screen charisma.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Hooga Chakka

After an amazing weekend at Fenway South, formerly known as Turner Field, I awoke to the harsh world of introductory chemistry. Man, I feel so dumb on Mondays. By Thursday, though, I usually feel smarter. (Typically, this occurs after a beer or two.)

To top it off, the Sleestaks earned their first defeat of the softball season last night. I was pitching instead of playing shortstop. The other team, every damned one of them, seemed to be a seasoned placement hitter. Ripped us apart. It was bad.

What cheers me up when I'm feeling so low? A little something I like to call Hasselhoff.

Takes me back to 2002 when this was brand new. Ahh, Mr. David Hasselhoff, you warm me. You make me feel human, again. I am a knight. A rider. A bay watcher. (Or an Inuit snowboarder. Or a safari guide.)

Hooga Chakka, indeed.

Pitchfork has a compilation of "100 Awesome Music Videos" here. Don't be disappointed when you don't see something with such a stunning array of special effects, as Hasselhoff's "Hooked On a Feeling."

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Heaven is watching your favorite team at the ballpark on a perfect Friday evening.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Jamaican Me Crazy!

Awesome lunch at the Resta, our name for the Negril Caribbean Restaurant in downtown Atlanta.

Here's a recap:

12:17 pm: Arrive with Dan, Kim, Nancy.

12:20 pm: Enter restaurant, see Joe and the surprise guest, Jason.

12:23 pm: Place order with waitress. Mostly patties, rice and peas, yellow rice and black beans, broccoli, carrots, and an order of wings and fries. Order jerk or oxtail gravy on rice/beans. Waitress says that "she'll see what she can do" clearly setting low expectations. This is akin to asking for ketchup for your fries and being rebuffed. Waitress takes 5 minutes to review order just so "they don't mess it up in the kitchen." Have sensation that it's being messed up far earlier than the kitchen.

12:29 pm: Patties arrive on a single large platter that is tossed into the middle of the table. Tiny saucers are distributed, frisbee style, to everyone. Waitress confirms missing items. Forgets to include jerk gravy. Remind waitress to remember it.

12:45 pm: Wings, broccoli and carrots arrive. No sign of fries, rice/peas or black beans/yellow rice. Politely remind waitress of required jerk gravy. Agree with Joe's observation that cutting up his patties in anticipation of rice and peas is probably a critical strategic error.

12:55 pm: Inquire again about rice/peas, black beans/yellow rice, and jerk gravy. Waitress mentions how busy she is, assures that she'll bring it right out, and casually, slowly walks away. Say goodbye to Nancy and Jason who must return to work.

12:58 pm: Say goodbye to Kim and Dan who must return to work.

1:05 pm: Stare at patties. Caress them gently with fork. Imagine how first bite will taste.

1:10 pm: Walk to counter, try unsuccessfully to make eye contact with waitress. Shake head in disgust. Walk back to table. Hold patties to nose, breathe their delicious aroma. Hold them to my cheek, feel their fading warmth. Pet them.

1:15 pm: Return to counter. Make eye contact. Ask for black beans/yellow rice. Waitress starts to hand me fries. Alert her that the customer who ordered fries left 10 minutes earlier. Receive plate of beans and rice, freshly made in 5 seconds while I watched. Ask for jerk gravy. Receive assurance that it'll be right out.

1:20 pm: Discuss with Joe the unlikelihood that we would ever receive gravy. Watch Joe take his bowl of rice and peas to counter. Ask him to bring some extra. Wink at patties. Tell patties a joke. Share uncomfortable laughter with patties.

1:22 pm: Watch Joe return with no extra jerk gravy.

1:23 pm: Walk to counter with plate of beans and rice. Demand jerk gravy. Witness jerk gravy being put on beans and rice. Note that elapsed time of application is 2 seconds.

1:24 pm: Waitress arrives at table with another plate of beans and rice with jerk gravy. Notify her that person who ordered them had been long gone. Tell her to take them back because no one is there to eat them. Waitress does not remove beans and rice, instead, begins bussing the table as we're begin eating.

1:29 pm: Finish patties and beans and rice with jerk gravy.

1:35 pm: Postulate that our waitress will not be bringing our check.

1:36 pm: Walk to counter. In response to our presence, waitress tells us to "chill out" as she walks by.

1:37 pm: Settle check at register. Items that are removed from total are almost equal to the amount we received. Leave no tip. Walk out. Reconsider my allegiance to the Resta. Consider Calypso Cafe for next week's Friday lunch.

Another Notch in the Belt

This thing is picking up a little steam. So far, so good. I made a 95 on the second test. Talk about an unpleasant exam. It ranked right up there with the annual physical from my doctor.

The Last Stand
One of my lab partners saw the latest X-Men movie, which I still haven't seen. She thought it would be pretty cool if everyone had mutant powers. During lab, she decided that maybe her mutation would be an uncanny ability to determine the number of atoms in any substance. Her name: Avogadro.

That led to the other two of us determining our special powers and choosing names. I'm also working with Balancea, gifted with the ability to accurately measure substances to within 0.00001 of a gram. I'm Pipetto (/pI-'pet-'O/), able to use a pipette to deliver specific amounts of liquid with ridiculous precision.

Sure, it's a pretty limited set of powers but if it ever goes down in the lab, you can bet that we'll kick some ass and take some names.

(I feel really bad about myself.)

Nacho Libre Terrible
J3K bought tix to an advanced screening last night. I even plunked down the $75 for a large Sprite and large popcorn. After noticing the "Free Refills* On Large Drinks and Popcorn" sign, I thought it would be a good value, you know. So, we're sitting in the theater packed to the brim with a whopping 12 people and just shoving handfuls of popcorn into our mouths. We finished the large bag in about 5 minutes. I ran, at full speed, to the concession for a refill.

Quick tip: When sprinting down the darkened hall in a theater, it's important to note where the door is located. At this particular screen, the door wasn't, in fact, at the end of the hall but on the side. This detail defeated my strategy of blasting through the door with tremendous velocity. At full speed, I could neither turn right to exit the door or stop before hitting the wall. I almost Roethlisbergered myself. Luckily, the wall was carpeted with a musty carpet. It reminded me of the carpeted walls at old skating rinks. It tasted as bad as it smelled. I might have a small rug burn on my face and shoulders.

Dazed from my stunning impact, I made it to the concession and got the free refill. Ten minutes later, when I went back for another, the teen working the counter politely pointed out the small print on the refill sign: One per visit. Come on!

Which brings me back to the movie... It was awful. Seriously, I made it about 20 minutes into the movie before I walked out to go find a Galaga machine. Here's the insult to injury: I had to play Millipede. Millipede! Come on! Finally, I took a short nap on a bench in the lobby until J3K, Beth, and Heather walked out which was about 20 minutes after I bailed. What a disappointment.

Nacho Terrible joins these other fine films on the "I Cannot Believe I Wasted My Money and These Precious Moments of My Life On This Piece of $#@&" list:
  • Mad Love (1995) - Chris O'Donnel and Drew Barrymore in this steaming turd of a film. Worst part was that I knew it was going to be a bad movie but my date made me go see it. And I paid for the tickets. Mad Love? I was beyond mad.
  • Chasing Amy (1997) - I think people are evenly divided on this one. Personally, I thought the acting and direction were terrible. Really, were any of the characters likeable? I really like some of Kevin Smith's other work but this one was terrible. The breaking point: the scene where she's in the parking lot after a hockey game and is just yelling and yelling and crying and yelling. What a terrible attempt at emoting. Seriously, it grated on my last nerve. I set a timer on my watch and decided that if she was yelling at the end of the 30 seconds, I was walking out. She stopped with 2 seconds left. Still should've walked out.
  • The Matrix 2: Revolting (2003) - I can't recall the actual dopey name of this one. I loved the part where they inserted the Lenny Kravitz "Are You Gonna Go My Way?" music video into the middle of the film. I got a little freaked out when, during the love scene, I thought I was admiring a woman's body. Camera zooms in and it's Keanu! What??? Terrible. Just terrible. Kudos to the Wachowski brothers for screwing up their original idea in the name of money.
  • Mission: Improbable 2 (2000) - My mission: Make it through the movie without laughing hysterically. Couldn't do it. Here's what you get when John Woo directs: softly lit shots of candles in a church just before people start shooting in slow motion while leaping and shooting the pistols they're grippin in each hand. The continuity errors on the motorcycle scenes were awesome. How do tires automatically change from street treads to off-road knobbies? How do you leap over the front of a motorcycle going about 80mph and hit someone in mid-air and live to survive it? Never could buy into it and this was before Cruise was officially batshit crazy.
Fare Thee Well, Old Friend
Just wanted to take a moment to mourn the passing of an old friend.

Since 1988, my trusty Radio Shack calculator has been there with me.

We used to go cruising Bellwood Connector with all the crazy high school kids back in the day. In 1989, we spent an awesome summer down in Valdosta at the Governor's Honors Program. We were growing up together, working out life's problems as a team.

We had some crazy times during our college years, believe me! One night, not long after it had broken up with a slide ruler, it got really drunk on Jaegermeister and started hitting on this guy's girlfriend right in front of him. Man, I had to get us out of a jam on that one.

It was a hard worker. It really put in some hours during my study abroad in Mexico. Hell, it even got my Best Man through medical school.

The last several years were the lean one. It's buttons were pretty worn and its display a little fuzzy. Simple calculations took forever. Whenever we'd go for a spin, it was usually slow and the M+ sign would be blinking the entire time. I didn't mind though.

I'll miss the cute way that part of the 8 was missing so that you really couldn't tell if it was an 8 or a six or something. I'll always remember those times we shared figuring complex equations and the way that it displayed 7734 upside down.

It's tough to watch someone you love get old. I know it's in a better place, though.

I'll miss you old friend.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

You Can Sell It. We Can Help.

Check the story at CNN. Classic.

Funny, when we were renovating our kitchen, we opened the box of our base cabinets and got a big surprise. Instead of a cabinet, we found a smallish fellow with 3 pounds of heroin stuffed in his butt.

Strange, huh?

We put him next to the diswasher. Keep our Tupperware in him.

Monday, June 12, 2006

It's a Junk-Hole Out There

Stick a fork in Monday; it's done. (Well, class is done. Still much work to do.)

Had a nice weekend. Saw Tapes-n-Tapes and Cold War Kids on Friday at the Drunken Unicorn. Nice little venue on the other side of MJQ. It's a tiny little deathtrap. Seriously, someone starts fireworks down there, nobody's getting out. It is, however, a great place to catch up and coming bands before they get on everyone's radar. That being said, I encourage you to check these kids out. They really are fantastic. You'll be hearing more about them.

What Did You Say?
Saturday night, I went to a party some friends' place. Our crew showed up and mingled a little and, unabashedly, gorged ourselves on homemade pizza. George's family owns a pizza shop up north. Growing up, he picked up a thing or two, trust me. It was some of the best pie I've eaten in a while.

Our little convoy tended not to mingle as much as we could have. We relaxed in the living room which was also about 15 degrees cooler than the kitchen. Evidently, whenever anyone else tried to come into the room, they would hear part of our conversation and immediately walk away. Apparently, phrases like "junk-hole," "huge boobs but an enormous hooked nose," "the dog whisperer is fantastic," and "Peej, close you legs, I can see your figs" really freak some people out. Needless to say, we didn't increase our circle of friends.

Have a Fire?
To put it out, all you need is a combination of hydrochloric acid and sodium bicarbonate. Careful, mixing the two will cause a huge reaction. If used effectively though, the resulting carbon dioxide (or water) should put out the fire. If used ineffectively, you'll likely cure any tummy ache and get rid of that pesky flesh. On the bright side, you probably won't be so worried about the fire.

For today's lab experiment, we calculated how much chemical we'd need to cause a reaction that produced enough carbon dioxide to put out a fire in a shoebox filled with candles. Good stuff , huh? My group put out all the candles within a second. In that time, we also filled half off said box with salt water, coated the desk with water, and provided the entire class with ideas for how to better engineer their experiments. Funny to see an entire class scatter like that. Some people actually move a lot faster than I thought they would.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I Survived Week Two ...

... and all I have to show for it is loose stool. Honestly, have I signed up for 7 years of GI trauma? Guess so. It does, however, beat the corporate world. Tonight, I spoke with someone who had ordered a granite countertop from my former company. She was a little less than thrilled with the ordeal. I could've told her that she would be. A year ago, I had worked for a few months on a relatively simple project to reengineer the countertop ordering process. One year and thousands of dollars later, it is still pending completion. It's sort of like hiring a team of 50 people to document and improve the way you might make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and having this project take over a year to complete. It really isn't rocket science, for the love of Pete. Anywho, when I think about that insanity, I know I'm in the right place.

This stuff excluded, I've survived week two of classes. I made a 95 out of 97 on the last exam. This one was 20% of my final grade. So, if I quit now, I'd have at least a 19.5 as my final grade. Admittedly, it's a little lower than I want. I suppose I'll stick with it for another week.

Quantum Theory Sucks Photons
By "photons," I really mean penis ... or something equally offensive. Holy crap. Last night, I spent at least four hours on a few problems about atomic spectra. Here's what I learned:
After 16 years without flexing your math muscle,
you invent your own algebra.
My algebra, although sound by my own rationale, has absolutely no relation to mathematics as is known today. My mathematical approach was sort of like somebody picking a team to win because the uniforms were cool or their team name was more menacing. Whatever it was, it damned sure wasn't approved mathematics. Luckily, I met with the department head and she made it very clear. Seriously, calculators are SO smart. With a simple push of a button, you can avoid 90 minutes of expletives. Who knew? For those of you with scientific calculators, look for the 1/#$$%@#@ button.

Kudos to You, TG
Once again, TG ("That Guy") has amazed me.

Thursdays, many of us from the program go out for a beer or five. We were out having some tasty beverages, blowing off the steam from the week. Trust me, we needed a few. We're in this fantastic place in Decatur, The Brickstore Pub, tossing a few back. Everyone's pretty laid back, talking and getting to know each other outside of the context of errant electrons and other chemistry crap. It's pretty fun and pleasant. So, one young lady orders a beer. Our waiter finally returns with a tall, slender glass of beer. Just as she's leaning in to sip it, TG says "Could that glass be any more phallic?" No kidding, my jaw dropped. I actually made eye contact with a few of my classmates who were equally as shocked. I think I mentioned something about TG being on the Duke Lacrosse team. Anywho, my point is: TG is a jackass ... in a bad way. I predict that, in another week or two, he'll be touching inappropriately. Bring on the "Month of Touching!" Can't wait to be on the sidelines for this one. What a jackass.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

An Open Letter To My Next Door Neighbor

Dear Neighbor,

Congrats on the successful Hell party you threw last night! I can't say that you were the lone person to celebrate 6-6-06 by throwing a party but you were the only one on the block! When I returned home to begin studying at around 4:00 p.m., I noticed that the party was just starting; cars were everywhere, by golly!

I'm sure that your guests enjoyed the blaring speed metal as much as I did. Hope they were wearing earplugs. I was - inside my own house! Admittedly, it was a nice change to have a constant, droning noise permeating my very soul. I previously thought that a car slowly ambling down the street with thumping base was awesome but your musical selections were awesomer! Personally, I think you've made a strong case to be hell's very own Shadoe Stevens. Can you imagine? I can hear you now: "Gonna be another hot one out there today, folks. How 'bout we turn up the heat with a little Pantera? For those of you standing waist deep in manure, finish that coffee, break's almost over!" I kid because I love.

Here's a thought, next time start the party 666 minutes into the day. That's right, guy, I'm talking about 11:06 a.m., the devil's time. Sure, you and your guests can still revel into the wee hours of the night. I'm just suggesting you kick it up a notch. That way, when people ask why the party is starting at 11:06, you can throw the devil horns and say it's 666 minutes into the day. How great would that be? Pretty sweet, right?

Please accept my apologies that I couldn't make it over. I've quit my job and have gone back to school. Right now, I'm really putting in a ton of time on this Chemistry course. Honestly, if you're wanting to revel in hell, you should take it. I know that you picked a sort of commercialized hell day and all for your party - after all, they released a remake of "The Omen" yesterday - but you really made it a special day for me. I was expecting to come home on a Tuesday afternoon and get some work done. How boring is that? Am I a nerd? Thanks to your thoughtfulness, I was able to constantly feel the pangs of hell just a little more courtesy of your bitchin' party.

Keep making hell on earth,

The Scholar

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Fun with Freud

I just woke up after some interesting dreams. Here's a quick review...

Gone Fishing
My family went away for the weekend. Apparently, we were going for a relaxing fishing vacation at Jennifer Lopez' farm in Arkansas. That's right, JLo's farm. Anywho, I rode in past a creek posted with a bunch of unmanned fishing rod contraptions. There were a lot like ones pictured in the National Geographic article on ice fishing a few months back except that they were full-sized and on the banks of an idyllic stream. I'm in a truck with these two hillbilly guys who kept bragging that they sold JLo the property in exchange for songwriting credits on an upcoming song. They'd drafted a few things but hadn't been able to get them to her because "she's been so dang busy."

Finally, we arrive at a point where I had to get out and walk. I'm walking through a tall stand of reeds. They keep hitting me in the face and I attempt to swat them out of the way. Turns out, these things aren't canes at all, they're more of these automatic fishing poles contraptions were on the stream. I feel a pang of remorse because I'd created something very similar years earlier but hadn't patented it. Judging by how many were on JLo's farm, I could have been quite rich.

After hiking through this forest of automatic fishing rods, I make it to the cabin where everyone is staying. It's mostly my family but some complete strangers as the cabin includes an Applebee's restaurant or something because a lot of people are here watching an NBA finals game. Anywho, the place is nice.

Sometime later, we go fishing. We're in the middle of a stream, standing on a marshy little island. My parents and aunts and uncles are there. Next, my dad and I are standing on top of a bar stool which is on top of a table on the marshy island in the stream. (?) Dad's holding a baby. I'm standing behind him trying to keep my balance. He starts rocking the stool. Against my pleas to stop, he keeps on rocking it until I start to lose balance. He keeps telling me not to worry. No matter, I'm worrying. The stool tips and we fall. I tumble to the ground unhurt. Dad, like he's a ninja, gently glides down as if he's running down the stool to ground.

Dad's unhurt and the baby's absolutely fine. He turns to me and says some ninja wisdom crap. Too late, I'm pissed off and sulking and go find a place to sit down.

I ain't gonna fish on JLo's farm no more.

Dream Six Flags
I'm at Dream Six Flags with my parents, sister, and J3K. Dream Six Flags is just like regular Six Flags except that it's in my dream and, as expected, some of the rules are bent. So, we're driving around looking at the rides making our way to the Log Jamboree. As we're going downhill, we pass a morbidly obese woman struggling to get up the hill in what I can best describe as a paddleboat that's been poorly converted for use on land. At Dream Six Flags, there are tons of sidewalk trails for these things.

"She's never going to make it," I say.

Mom jumps in to the woman's defense and tells me how good a person this woman probably is and that I should give her a break about her weight.

I reply, "I wasn't talking about her weight, mom. A few weeks ago, I tried going up the same hill in one of those things. It's impossible; you just can't do it. The trail is too narrow for that thing she's riding."

If you're ever at Dream Six Flags, stay out of the paddleboats. The trails suck. You'll have to portage a ton. It's really not worth the effort.

Anyway, we finally make it to the Log Jamboree. I notice from the posted sign that only five more logs will be floating today. We should hurry, I think. I mosey up to the counter and ask for five tickets. The lady at the window tell me the total and I pull out $30 to pay her. She takes the money and asks for my zip code, email address, and phone number. When I tell her, in no uncertain terms, that I do not wish to be placed on a marketing list that will send me catalogs, clutter my inbox with spam, or ring me with unsolicited phone calls, she bristles and phones security. I'm not being irate, I'm just calmly telling her that I don't want to be on a marketing list. I just want to ride the ride with my family and friend.

From the ceiling, she pulls down a periscope like she's on a submarine and tries to scan my retinas. She asks me what type of work I do. I'm getting angry. For the love of God, I just want to put everybody in a fiberglass log and ride down the damned Jamboree, what's the problem? Security shows up in force behind the glass counter. The countdown sign has dropped to one. We're on the last log out of this mess, I think.

Panicking, I tell everyone to get in the log. They have my money, we're going. As we pile in, this enormous overhead door starts closing, threatening to ability to enter the ride. We make a break for it. My parents and sister make it under the door. I'm trapped inside with J3K. I run back to the counter to demand a refund only to notice that the a metal security door is closing over the glass. The lady on the other side sneers at me. I'm banging the glass, screaming for my money sort of like Hoffman at the end of "The Graduate."

I run outside and wait at an exit for security to come out. Finally, one guy comes out. I demand to know who I can speak to about this poor service and treatment. He refers me to his manager. When I ask his name, he says "Employee 14" and walks off. Defeated, I go back inside the building to get J3K and leave. He's on the internet watching a replay of his favorite Yankees game. He tells me not to worry, it's a great game.

Six Flags Over Georgia
In the moments after I woke before coming to the computer to type this, I honestly thought this in my head:
"Six Flags Over Georgia. To find the value of flags, multiple it by six and divide by Georgia. The equation would be something like: 6(flags)/Georgia."
The transformation is almost complete; the little normalcy I enjoyed is slipping away.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I Survived Week One ...

... and all I have to show for it is this crappy stomach ulcer.

It has really put me through the ringer. All week long, I've started the day at 5:30 or 6:00am, taken a quick shower, and started my studying around 6:45am. I've hit the rack at about 11:30 or midnight for a few hours of restless sleep.

Get this: the other morning, I was calculating the mass of all the gold dissolved in the oceans. What??? While the world is sleeping, I'm busting my hump trying to come up with the fact that there are approximately 8.0 x 1012 grams of gold in the oceans. I'd rather have been counting the hairs on my head. After this week, I'm left with about twelve of them.

After the first day of class, I just knew I was in over my head. Exponential math? Algebra? Come on! I haven't done that since the '80's. Luckily, though, I wasn't alone. Apparently everyone in the class felt quite lost and terribly inadequate. Even so, "TG" (That Guy) had no takers on his offer of hugs and inappropriate touching.

I suppose that I'm settling into everything. Everyone seems pretty cool, even my nemesis. Still, I think he may be trying to lure me into a false sense of security. After reading a few animal behavior books as reference, I'm convinced that, next week, I should push him down and dry-hump him in front of the group as a way of establishing my dominance. Anyway, it's just a thought.

A Physical Progression

At the beginning of the week:


"Milk was a bad choice."