Tuesday, August 29, 2006

In my eyes

My eyes are bothering me this morning. It happens every once in a while, something is in my contact, like an eyelash or a boulder. Right now, I think it's an eyelash. I meant to take my contacts out before I left for the lab, but I got out of the shower and before I knew it I had my contacts in my eyes (see previous post). In the lab, I have nowhere to put them if I were to take them out, other than in a beaker or flask or something, but I don't really want to put my contacts into a container that may have at one time held freon or anti-freeze.

I am a little conflicted about my eyelashes at times like these, though. You see, I have awesome eyelashes. People have told me that (and no, not my mom [actually, not just my mom]) but right now it feels like there is a sword piercing my right eye. As a result, I am tempted to grab the wire cutters in the cabinet and remove every last one of the vile hairs that are growing out of my eyelids. It's especially perplexing to think that there are people who actively try to lengthen their eyelashes with mascara. Long eyelashes might be nice, but I'm pretty sure only women notice them. And when they do notice that particular feature, it doesn't have quite the same effect as rock hard abs, a chiseled profile or a BMW, so really, it's kind of a disappointing victory in the physical lottery.

I wouldn't be surprised if after I write this, somebody writes, "I wish I had longer eyelashes." And that may be true. It reminds me of a pool party I just went to where two girls were complaining about their hair. One of them said to the other, "Your hair is so thick," to which she responded, "I know, it sucks." Evidently, she didn't realize that thick hair is good. It'd be like somebody else saying, "My legs are too long and sculpted. I can't wear high heels," without realizing that people wear high heels to have their legs look long and sculpted... or so I hear.

So, I guess I should stop my whining and suffer through the occasional maverick eyelash. I understand that some people think it's a good feature to have, even if I think of it as a baseball team having the best bat boy. It's nice, I guess, but I can think of a few areas of more pressing need. On the other hand, I'd probably look kind of weird if I went through with the eyelash cutting plan.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Creatures of Habit

Do you ever do things like brush your teeth and then forget, only later to wonder if you brushed your teeth this morning? Actually, that was a bad example because when you brush your teeth you have that lingering fake peppermint taste in your mouth for like an hour. But something really habitual, mindless and reflexive to the point that you don't think about it anymore, like locking the car door or flushing the toilet. If you do your business in the bathroom and leave while drying your hands and step out and think, "Is my waste still lounging in that bowl, or did I send it on its merry way?" I don't think I've ever actually forgotten to do either of those things, but I sometimes forget that I actually did them. Isn't that weird?

I got back from watching a movie at a friend's place tonight, and wondered if I remembered to lock the front door before I left. I had no recollection of inserting my key into the lock to perform this act, much like I have no idea from where two pairs of my pants came. They are really shorts, but pants, to me, is a funnier word. Fortunately, I did not forget to lock the door. It's good, I guess, that I don't ever forget, but it's a little frightening, too, that I am capable of doing something to the point of not remembering if I did it. Could this apply to other things, less mundane and possibly more sinister? Could I have taken baseball bat to a Mercury Sable and simply have forgotten? Or robbed a Pakistani bank at gunpoint? I'd never know, because Pakistani money probably isn't worth that much; I wouldn't expect a huge lifestyle change after holding up one of those.

I hope, for all of your sakes, that I am not some sort of subconscious criminal genius. It would be kind of awesome, though, to be able to just have money appear in my apartment and I have no idea where I got it. I'd really prefer to remember how I got it, though. I'll try to sing a song or something for each of these frequently occurring events in my daily life, so that they'll stick out a little better. Although I've never forgotten to flush the toilet, that's not the sort of risk I'm prepared to take.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A tad ridiculous

Under the recommendation of a friend of mine, I made my homepage the customized Google one. I chose some modules that clicked well with the sort of person I am: various newses, the weather, daily quotes, etc. I was going to say word of the day, but I think that's a default setting. I did not choose the calendar, which was really the thing my friend raved about, but I hate scheduling things. So she didn't convert me completely.

The quote I got earlier today is what caught my attention. I got "Not all treasure is gold or silver" by Jack Sparrow. First, I must say that I am tired of Johnny Depp. But this quote wasn't by Johnny Depp; it was by Jack Sparrow, who, if I recall correctly, was a character in a movie based on a ride in which he didn't appear. Although Keira Knightly was a nice addition, and should be in the ride in the future. It also got me thinking about how there are also a few Will Smith quotes, which are from movies like Men in Black, which is surprising, because Jay or Kay of whoever the hell he was didn't get credited. I guess it's a little better, since Will Smith is actually a person, but somehow I doubt he actually wrote that line. Some anonymous scriptwriter got gypped out of his credit.

The problem is that the source of these quotes is the website quotes4all.net, which is apparently open source. Anybody can just send in a quotation. There are a few by Sir Winston Churchill, who is a personal hero of mine, which is wrong. "If you are not liberal by the time you are 25, you have no heart. If you are not conservative by the time you are 35, you have no brains." and "Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash." Not only did he not say either of those things, but the second quote isn't even the correct incorrect quotation. Click here if you care enough to see why this is the case.

This is also the same principle as to why I don't know how much I can trust wikipedia, since a good majority of people who use the internet are retards. But not any of you guys, you're all brilliant. Except that guy who used to post about his financial blog, I still kind of hate him for falsely raising my hopes of getting new and meaningful comments.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Ring, ring goes the bell

This week begins the fall semester at Clemson University, and really, it's a two-edged sword. I have completed all of the course work requirements for my degree, so the classes themselves are neither edge. The good edge is mostly football season and increased presence of college aged females in the area. The bad edge is that it will take me longer to buy groceries.

Football season is wonderful. Everybody's excited, people are talking to people they don't know about a game, and there is tailgate food. Game days are like a carnival, except without the cotton candy and shiftless people running rides. The shiftless people sell tickets in front of the stadium instead. It's all very energetic, but it is a little weird to think that some of the guys on the field are younger than me, and 85,000 people are cheering their names. I don't know what I'd do if 85,000 read this and wanted me to succeed; hell, I don't know what I'd do if 18 people read this. I'd probably quit my job and try to figure out a way to swindle all of you out of money so that I wouldn't have to do real work. Come to think of it, that's pretty much what athletes have done.

The big problem is that the population of Clemson, SC will double this week. Clemson is a delightful (but slightly boring) place during the summer. The weather is nice, it's deserted so you can always get food on a moment's notice, and the traffic/parking situation is stellar. Now, none of that is true. The weather might not change, but otherwise I stand by it. You see, when large numbers of college age females females do anything, college age males follow. I'm pretty sure that every sorority house has at least one guy dressed as a women who has infiltrated their ranks. So, when I go to the grocery store to buy peanut butter, feta cheese, and jalapenos, I'll have to either go at 9:45 after the people have already bought their beer for the night or wait in Disneyesque lines and fight with traffic. The traffic isn't so bad, compared to my last place of residence (Atlanta), but parking downtown is. Downtown is where the bars and restaurants are (in case that wasn't obvious) and it's a small street and really kind of oddly shapen, sort of like a banana with strange protusions. Actually, it's nothing like that; it's more like a cactus. Regardless, the parking situation is less than ideal.

Anyway, these next few weeks will mean football and having to park further away from my lab.
Over the summer, I sort of staked out a regular spot, although I think my roommate and I staked out the same one. We have opposite schedules so it worked out. Neither of us have class though. Is there such a thing as a one edged sword?

Friday, August 18, 2006

I feel like James Garner

A situation has arisen that I have not yet figured out. To be fair, there are actually numerous of those in my life right now, including my Master's project and properly frying an egg. There is one, however that is on my mind, and that's the situation I meant at the beginning. My right knee is sore, and I have no idea why that would be so. I haven't done anything particularly exerting with it (my left knee is where I put all my knee-related exertion -- I am left handed and left kneed) and I don't remember banging it on anything. So how did this happen?

There isn't any bruising or contusions suggesting what's wrong. (I just wanted to use the word 'contusion.') There are times when I find scratches and things on my hands, and don't remember where they came from, but my hands are my hands; they're in the middle of the action. I do pretty much everything with my hands. In fact, right now, I have a few cuts, but they're not from anything awesome like getting cut by a falcon as I was teaching it to fetch me whiskey. I cut them removing the plastic string-thing that holds the price tag on my new flip-flops. But my knees, even though they are my go-to joints for walking, don't get in nearly as much hijinx as my hands. I like to think of myself as a pretty experienced walker, and this has never come up before. This is a little startling, because I'm not really old enough to have my body start fighting with me yet. I'm not even old enough to have decided if I want to grow a full beard yet.

So what can I do? I don't think it's really worth going to the health center on campus, since I don't really know how to explain the problem. "My knee hurts." What are they going to do? I don't think it's bad enough to ask for pain killers (although I hear they're fun) and I don't know what a brace would do. Even if it would help, I think I'd refuse to wear it simply on principle. I may not have a developed sense of style, but I know that would look absurd. At least that's what I think when I see other people. A cane, on the other hand, would be awesome. I would have no problem walking on a cane; although it would mean I need a new wardrobe, composed entirely of 1920's era suits with top hats and monocles.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Maybe a wig would be easier

I am on the fence about getting my hair cut. I've covered this topic, before, too, but I'll try not to repeat myself. I hate having to do it, because it's just too complicated. I never know what to ask for, I always forget how much it costs so I go in with like $50 (just in case) and it never looks the same the day you get it as it does the next day. I wish there was a construct your own haircut like the car websites have. That way I could choose between the sunfire red and gunmetal without making anybody uncomfortable.

In addition to the uncertainty with the process itself, I really have to wonder about the timing. Do I need one? Can I wait a few days? Would anyone notice if I did? Or are they laughing at my (comparatively) longish hair now? I really have gotten the same haircut for most of my days, with the exception of the AFROTC ones. I have very particular hair, not unlike a child who refuses to eat unless there are chicken nuggets in his spaghetti-os. My hair demands the cut I have now, or else I look retarded. As it stands now, I'm only ridiculous, which I think is a step above.

It's getting to the point where it's a little messy right now, though. I don't mind the length, so much as the unrulyness. If I cut a little some of the hairs off, though, that usually settles them down. It makes me feel like Stalin killing off peasants in Siberia. But, like those peasants, the hair always comes back. Maybe this would be easier if I had Stalin's hair.

Monday, August 14, 2006

A proportionate response

I don't feel like I'm exceeding the bounds of modesty when I say I'm a pretty good cook. If you think I am, I'm probably better than you, anyway. Although I'm only a journeyman with his particular recipe, one of the things in my repertoire is a delightful spaghetti sauce which can be placed on a variety of noodles -- whether they be stuffed shells, thin spaghetti or its fatter (but more fun) sister, regular spaghetti. The hotter spaghetti can be a real bitch sometimes.

The problem that always gets me when I decide to make spaghetti (with any noodle), though, is to get the right amount of noodles. They look so different when they are still raw then they do after you boil them, and even then, when you add the sauce it still can be much more food than I really need to eat. The amount leftover is usually some insignificant amount so that placing it in an entire Gladware container is just wasteful. So, I'll try to eat it and be uncomfortable for a while. That is to say nothing about my inability to match the amount of noodles with an appropriate amount of spaghetti sauce. Hey, I make the ingredients come out ok, I said nothing about presentation.

Now that I say that, though, I can't really decide which is more ridiculous: having the inability to judge proportions of noodles to sauce or the laziness to just keep eating rather than put it away. Maybe I should just give up this whole charade with thin spaghetti altogether.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


When I type in e-mail, AIM and blogs, I try my best to use proper grammar. I also try my best to be delightful. As a result, laughter ensues. Trouble arises, though, because conveying laughter in the typewritten media is a tricky proposition. I myself prefer to shy away from the AIMspeak of LOL or ROFL or LMAO. It's a personal choice. For example, I prefer Coke to Pepsi and attractive women to ugly ones. So, when I try to demonstrate to someone with whom I converse that I found his or her comment amusing, I elect to go with some number of "ha"s. And, if you choose to employ AIMspeak for this, please don't think I'm trying to be offensive by comparing LOL vs. ha to Pepsi vs. Coke. I'm comparing ha vs. LOL with hot vs. gnarly.

For reasons I can't explain, mostly lingual purity and not wanting to sound like a 13 year old girl, I can't stand those abbreviations. I don't use any of them, unless I'm trying to go for an attention grabbing title for a blog entry on the subject. But then it's a literary device. I have a hierarchy of "ha"s. It's hard to say what separates one ha from two, or two from three and so on. But there's a difference, oh is there ever.

I also don't like the use of smileys. I don't know why that is either. I think no straight man should ever use an emoticon in any context. Girls get a pass, they can smiley all they want. But I will say this: chances are, you're not getting many "ha"s if you use an emoticon in a message to me. Is that clear? :P

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I was born in a crossfire hurricane

You know, I should have been a meterologist. Today, the hurricane experts announced that they're changing the hurricane predictions for this season from 13-16 named storms and 8-10 hurricanes to 12-15 named storms and actual 7-9 hurricanes. I know they're supposed to be hurricane experts and all, but I think they forgot something: hurricane season begins on June 1. In case you don't feel like clicking the link (I don't blame you) the date of this development, also the date of today, is August 8. What a load of BS.

Oddsmakers don't get to change the odds on bets at halftime. Surgeons don't get to decide to change the organ that they're going to remove while they're elbow deep in entrails. Engineers don't get to turn the tank they're designing into a golf cart because they started off crappily. So why do we accept this from our meteorologists? Why do we pay them to predict at all? Because really, they suck at it.

I wish I had that sort of leeway for error in my line of work. But people who drive cars or live in houses probably are pretty happy that engineers don't, unless the Saturn they are driving suddenly were to erupt into a something else, like a sleeper sofa or a cat. (I chose Saturn because a lot of people drive Saturns. I myself, do not.) The only other people who have the sort of margin for mistake are sports writers, but they are writing about a game anyway, which is on its face pretty ridiculous. (Don't get me wrong, I still read a number of them, but at least I recognize that it's the professional equivalent of getting paid to eat candy.)

Hurricanes are not ridiculous. They are gigantic storms that can be terrifying. Just tell me where they are going. If you are going to make predictions, though, make them and own up at the end of the season like a man. Or else you never know what might happen to your Saturn.

Monday, August 07, 2006

When did the Matlock joke leave the public consciousness?

I had to go to the bank today. That sounds unimportant, I know, but the side street the intersects with College Avenue emptying into the BoA parking lot was under construction, forcing me to park next door at Eckerds. The banking experience went smoothely, and there was nothing to report other than there is an Indian woman teller who has an awesome accent.

The big news is on the way out, I had a frantic flashback to my homeland, Florida, as I was pulling out of the Eckerds parking lot. The reason for this flashback is because of the sorts of patrons that the drug store has during the middle of the day: old people. This alarmed be because I think it means I'm spending too much time away from the Sunshine State. Let me explain.

When people on the road complain about old people, I explain to them that where I come from, old people are like officials in football -- just part of the field. If you can't navigate around them, you have less business on the road than they do, just like the free safety who complains that his view gets blocked by the umpire. This is important because it keeps you on your toes and ready for anything, because old people are unpredictable. Slow, but unpredictable. For example, you never know if an old person riding in the left lane of US1 with the left blinker on for the past mile and a half traveling at 26 mph is preparing to turn left at the next intersection, preparing to turn left another half mile down the road, simply forgot from when s/he changed lanes, or is preparing to merge into the right lane.

While in the Eckerds parking lot, old people would appear seemingly randomly (but slowly) from behind various Mercurys and Buicks in the lot, making me wait longer and be more paranoid than I ordinarily would when leaving, say, a Wal-Mart in Florida where old people congregate to buy shoes and gawk at electronics they don't understand. I wonder if I'm losing some of the sharp edge I honed my driving instincts in the proving grounds of old people that is Volusia County. It'd be like cutting Samson's hair; without my Spideysense for detecting old people's insanity in public places, I'm just like the rest of you people.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

I want my MTV

In a typical decade, I might watch MTV for maybe an hour or two. This strikes me as weird, because I really like music, and from time to time I also enjoy television. Combining the two ought to be a match made in heaven, like peanut butter and my mouth. But for some reason, MTV never clicked with me.

However, today, I turned on my tv, and music was playing on it. It wasn't MTV per se, it was VH1 Classic -- but it was showing the videos that MTV played on its first day and some of the MTV promos, too. I missed Video Killed the Radio Star, but it's still a pretty interesting concept. Having this channel on in the background is like having a crystal ball revealing 1981 in all its ridiculous and rocking glory. For example, "Wrathchild" by Iron Maiden was just followed by "Come What May" by someone named Lani Hall. In case you don't already realize how discordant this juxtaposition is, here is a sample lyric from Wrathchild:

I was born into a scene of angriness and greed, and dominance and persecution

Now, Come What May:

But I'm not a bird
and wishes and just fly away
my love

Some of the things I've learned have been kind of useful, like even though I had heard the name of the Pretenders before, I didn't know anything they had done, but they might be worth my attention in the future. Other have not been as useful, like the knowledge that Ric Ocasek and the Cars were already so awesome that a large portion of the videos are from the genre of band that get me excited because they look and sound just like the Cars but are not the Cars. They also played a surprising amount of Rod Stewart, which I am having trouble wrapping my head around. They have also played a healthy amount of The Who, which is so awesome I can forgive the Debbie Harry rap song they played earlier.

So basically, I can see why people thought MTV was so revolutionary when it came out, what with music on television and babes in comical 80s stockings and denim jackets. Now, like the very music that it played, it has become part of the establishment and doesn't have that same edge of revolution. My biggest complaint, though, is that Guns n' Roses hadn't formed by 1981.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Invented by Terrorists: Pant buttons

Yesterday, something happened to me that I can't remember ever happening before. As I was leaving my lab, my shorts started to fall down. At first, I just thought, "Well, maybe they're a little big," and pulled them up. Then it became quite clear that it wasn't that they were a little big. Evidently, the button at the top of the zipper doesn't always latch in the best way, and my walking action coupled with the weight of my cell phone and wallet worked my zipper down a ways as well. So, effectively, my shorts weren't actually on.

So, I'm standing in the middle of an engineering building on Clemson campus, and fortunately, there aren't too many gawkers standing nearby. So I angle myself towards the wall and a plant, and correct the problem. I then realize that it may look like I'm relieving myself into the plant. That could have been a rather embarrassing turn of events had anyone been around to point and laugh. So for now, only you, dear readers, will be aware of my wardrobe malfunction.

I know what you're thinking now: "Maybe he just went to the bathroom and forgot to button his pants, like a moron." I'm pretty sure that this is not true because the button popped loose again later that day. I did manage to catch it before zipper failure occurred, so crisis was averted. I can understand your skepticism, though. I can assure you that I do understand the mechanics of dressing myself.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The end of the world as we know it

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the stuff going on in the Middle East does not mean the world is about to end. I can tell that you're stunned already, but hear me out. The two sides involved can't even agree on who started what, so I think it might just be people who shoot stuff at each other shooting stuff at each other. It does stir up some excitement, though.

Those lovable scamps at the History Channel aren't even above taking advantage of the mood. The other night (last night?) I caught a special about the Anti-Christ. It showed megachurches in Colorado talking about Satan is probably literally alive on the earth now and building his army. The program did point out that people have been talking about the Anti-Christ for like 2000 years now -- essentially since the appearance of the regular Christ.

But what would we do if it was the end? What sorts of preparations does one make (let's forget the religious preparations for now, because really, making peace with the regular Christ would probably be high on many folks' lists)? Would you eat only cake frosting as fire rained from the sky? Or would you see how many peeps you could force down? Better yet, make mosaics out of the blocks that make up Hershey's chocolate bars, and the eat pieces of it, resulting in a comical picture? For some reason, all of my end of world fantasies involve eating foods that would otherwise make me fat later. I might also drive my car really fast over of a baseball field. That sounds awesome.