Wednesday, March 31, 2004

bluest blue

"My grandfather saw heaven once,
a long time ago.
He couldn't remember anything
about it, or how he found his way
back, only that he was there.

"The day I was born, he held me
and he cried and cried. He said my
eyes were bluest blue,
and they were just like heaven.

"And that was all he ever remembered."

-from a dream I had two nights ago

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Thursday, March 25, 2004

A Sad Day

...for a variety of reasons (none of which are terribly tragic).

For one thing, I forgot that Kevin's birthday was Monday. Not that I got a Happy Birthday from him till the day after mine, but you know.

Also, Unilever, makers of Finesse hair care products, as well as a bunch of other stuff, has apparently discontinued their 'styling potion,' of which I have been a consumer for the last two years. That was great stuff: it substituted nicely for conditioner (which takes forever to rinse out of my hair, a process that wastes valuable time and hot water), while keeping the frizzies at bay, more or less, and not stiffening my hair. Now I must begin anew the process of Finding the Right Hair Care Product for Me.
So I stood in CVS for about fifteen minutes tonight trying to choose which ones would be the newest contenders. I finally decided upon L'Oréal Studio FX Aqua Gel, L'Oréal Studio Styling Gel Lasting Curls, and TRESemmé Mousse Extra Hold (the first two were buy one get one free--bonus).

But the coup de grâce? That came when I lost a chess match to Joe in six turns.
Six. Turns.
How does one unintentionally lose a chess game in six turns, you ask? It's fairly easy, if one moves one's king's bishop's pawn (is that what it's called?) out of the starting block, blithely unaware of the gaping hole one has left in one's defences, and continues to make one's next two moves on the queen's side of the board, while one's opponent deftly moves the opposing queen to checkmate.
In an attempt to redeem myself, I accepted Joe's rematch challenge. Though I lost that one as well, it took many turns before my king was mated.
What can I say? I'm a bit rusty. I hadn't played a game of chess in two years, and while I'd won that game, it didn't help that my opponent was nine.

So it's merely the icing on the cake that my banner ad currently reads:
American Standard Toilet
Save on Tools & Hardware here! Simply
Fast Savings

After all, I asked for that one.

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Sunday, March 21, 2004

Even Physicists Make Mistakes

Don't try this at home.

This is what happens when you douse your smouldering candle wick with Fresca while the candle holder is still hot.

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Saturday, March 20, 2004

more bathroom humour

I've just been downstairs in an attempt to use the bathroom (for the first time today--slept in late). The first thing I notice is a large plastic bucket full of dirty water in the bathtub. I'd wondered why Dave was hanging out in there a minute before. Then I turn my attention to the toilet. The bottom of the tank is cracked severely--I can see inside it--and it's leaning up against the wall. A wax seal, still packaged, rests on top of the sink, and a few other plumbing supplies are strewn about. I stand staring at it for a few seconds until I realize Dave is in the room behind me. Still incredulous, I ask, "Does the toilet work?"
Oh terrific. I head back up for my room, trying to figure out where I'm going to take my next pee, which is imminent. Dave comes upstairs to fetch some stuff and says, "Give me... twenty minutes."

Meanwhile, Buffy is harassing me for canned food. She doesn't get fed until 5:30, but the sky is thick with clouds today, so she probably thinks it's later than it is.

Oh, now I get to carry a toilet.
Actually, that wasn't as difficult as I'd thought. Even though Dave's obviously been drinking today, he managed to walk backward down the stairs.

We just happen to have a spare toilet. Since the upstairs bathroom has been in a state of complete renovation for the last 18 months, the toilet designated for that bathroom has been nervously awaiting its destiny in Dad's spacious bedroom, of all places.

Every time there's a song I hear about which I want to find out more, I always manage to come across it again. Last night, it was from a cell phone.
I'd heard this song before--solo piano, very spare and nostalgic--and I heard it most recently several weeks ago at Starbucks. I should have asked them then what music they were playing, but I didn't. So I had nothing to go on, save my foggy recollection of the melody.

Yay! The toilet's back up and running. And just in time: Dad's kinda-friend Marcy just rang the doorbell; she's spending the night in the guest room, cos they're leaving at 4am tomorrow to go to a dance conference, or some such thing, in Boston.

Anyway, back to the song. So Dad's switching cell phone companies. Sprint, I think, is what he's decided. He must have, because I have a new camera phone now, though the service hasn't yet been activated. I was playing around with it last night, checking out the gosh-awful multi-tonal ringers, when I happened upon one that sounded unexpectedly familiar. I realized that this was the same song I'd heard at Starbucks, though it had been, um, unfortunately arranged (meaning it sounds like it should be the end credits theme for a Sega game). So the phone calls this "Satie Gymnop.#1" which means very little to me, so I run a Google search and find out this piece is called "Gymnopédie" (Nos. 1-3) and was written by Erik Satie. Another search leads me to this music sample.

Dad and I ended up going to Dinosaur Bar-B-Q on Thursday night. We got there at 9:20, and were told the wait was about a half-hour, so we stood at the bar and talked. Dad got a beer, and I decided to be daring and order a Southern Comfort. Yeah, I know--I had no clue. I mean, I knew it was an alcoholic drink. Chris (N, not W) had said it was one of his favourite drinks. So I thought, Hey, Dad's paying, why not?

I promptly found out why not. Yech... it's like peach cough syrup, but thinner. I waited for the ice to melt, and it was still bad. When we got dinner, I mixed a bit of my Sprite with it, and only then did it become remotely palatable. But the pork ribs more than made up for my mistake. Mmm....

Oh, and that "date" Dad had on my birthday? Turns out the woman he was getting set up with goes to my church. I hardly know her. But he didn't enjoy himself, and definitely isn't interested in her, so that's a relief. Relief, because she has four young kids and, I dunno, doesn't really appeal to me as a stepmother.

Hey... today's the first day of spring, isn't it?

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Awful busy in June...

One conversation that took place yesterday in the lab went something like this:

[Scott and Joe exchange furtive glances and murmur half sentences to each other]
Joe: It has recently come to my attention that today marks the anniversary of the birth of someone known, and known well, to members of this lab. That's right: on this day was born Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
Me: Oh! Really?
Joe: Yes.
Scott: I call for a moment of silence in memory of our dear departed former senator.
[moment of silence]
Me: So, we're going to Chili's?

Other famous people born yesterday (so to speak) include:

  • James Madison, 1751

  • Jerry Lewis, 1926

  • Chuck Woolery, 1940

  • Erik Estrada, 1949

I got a card with a check from Poppa and Nana, and an Action Cat e-mail card from Mom and Kreg, asking when I'd next be in town, and if I'd rather receive my gift when I visit, or through the mail. Elisa sent me an e-mail card, too, and Bianca called (and left a message) and invited me to dinner at her place tonight. I also received myriad Happy Birthdays from the folks on Flickr; yay! Dad's taking me out to dinner tomorrow night, just the two of us, after his dance class. I told him to wait on getting me a gift; if I end up going to Japan, I'll ask him for luggage. If not, I think I'll as him for finches.

So I went to Bianca and Elisa's apartment for dinner tonight. Elisa's brother Nate is visiting from Oral Robert's University; Mike and Amy Danial arrived a half-hour after I got there, and Kevin came by shortly after that with Jamaican food. Chicken or oxtail, with some very tasty rice and beans; the portions were large, and I wasn't able to finish mine, so I brought the rest home with me. For dessert we had Bianca's famous cheesecake. Yum... I think I'm set for the week.

We got into a conversation about how often each of us calls our respective mothers. Elisa talks to her mom in Tacoma, WA every day. Her brother calls home once a week, though their mom would like him to call more often. Bianca calls home every one or two days. Kevin and I thought this frequency was somewhat excessive. But I know I don't call home as much as I should.
"Um, I called my mom on her birthday [in January]."
"What?!" Bianca said, "that's it? Emily...."
"I know! I know!"
So Mom, I won't make any promises, but I'll try to call more often."

And as I'm staring at my blog wondering what's causing the "Error on page," I notice that my banner ad reads:
Related searches: • bloggerdaughter

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Monday, March 15, 2004

warm fuzzies

Tomorrow's my birthday. Dad said to me today, "I'm going out to dinner tomorrow night with a couple people I know. You want to come?"
"Who are you going with?"
"Oh, so'n'so, and whatsherface [I wasn't really paying attention at this point], you know, from the youth group your mom and I had."
"Uh, your youth group? If I was even alive at that point, I was an infant, so no, I don't remember."
"Well, do you want to come? It is your birthday tomorrow."
"Umm, erm, well, ehh...."
"You? Turning down dinner?"
"Ah, well, um, uhh...."
"Just tell me if you're not interested."
"I'm not interested."
"So, No, then."

Truth is, as he told me later, one of his dinner dates is trying to set him up with the other; that's why he wants me along, so it doesn't feel so much like a set-up.
That's Dad: Always thinking of me.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

non sequitur

“I am happy to report that the Thought Screen Helmet has been performing beautifully! It’s been over six months now and NOT ONE INCIDENT! Aside from some of the naive neighborhood kids and their taunting it’s been a blissful period.”

Friday, March 12, 2004

Short post.

Lots of skunks stumbling out of hibernation in the last month. I can relate: I tend to be somewhat bumblesome when I first wake up in the morning. But I stay in the house, so I don't wander into the street, get hit by a car, and release my noxious gases into the neighbourhood. has made me laugh out loud several times tonight, and I haven't come close to exploring his entire site.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Good night, everybody!

Monday, March 08, 2004

What a difference a day makes.

Can someone please explain to me the necessity of a "winter weather advisory"?

Be prepared for winterlike conditions, which may include, but are not limited to, freezing temperatures and measurable snowfall. Roads may become icy, and outer extremities may become frostbitten if not properly covered. Put a coat on; you're making us cold.

Oh, wait, I actually do have something of import to blog: Aunt Beth is getting married. April 17th, I think. I'd known this for a month or two when I was talking to my brother online a couple of days ago.

Me: Hey, you know Aunt Beth is getting married, right?
Me: Oh. Yeah. She is.
Tuck: To who?
Me: You remember two or three years ago when she came to visit, and that guy was with her, and his two daughters?
Tuck: Wow.

I guess this is another benefit of living at home: I get all the family news pretty much as it happens. I've had to inform Tucker over IM about Dan and La splitting up, and Jonathan leaving Christiane--that sucked. Dag, it's like everyone in our family is getting divorced.

I talked to Beth on the phone a few days ago when she called for Dad and he wasn't home. On the subject of whether I would be attending the wedding or not, she said, "It would be great if you could come, but if you can't, I understand." So that's cool. I've never been out to visit the West Coast contingent of the clan, so I just might go. Dad wants me to find out if I can get round-trip plane tickets for $200 each on Priceline. I don't think it's gonna happen, though maybe $250/ea. before taxes, etc. JetBlue has tickets from between Syracuse and Seattle for $154 each way. I'd be attempting right now to find supercool airfares on Priceline, 'cept I need the full names of all the passengers, and I don't know my grandmother's or my uncle's middle initials.

Holy crap. $2,500 round-trip between Tokyo and Syracuse (departing Tokyo).
Wait... if I set the return date from January 4th to January 5th, then the price drops to $950.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

...blogger, blogger, blogger, mushroom! mushroom!

Oh, Scott. Magnanimity never was your strong suit.

I was very happy, last Thursday, when I discovered a pair of used chemistry books for sale at Follett's Orange Bookstore.
During my first semester of college, back when I still thought I was going to go pre-med, I took Chemistry 106. The required books for the class consisted of a textbook, a large workbook, and three other small items--I think one was a CD. They all came shrink-wrapped together. At the end of the semester, I resold these books back to the SU Bookstore. Actually, I sold only the textbook and workbook--for $15 and $2 respectively--because the bookstore wouldn't buy back the other three (even though all of them had originally been purchased together as one item). Why did I sell them back, even for such a paltry sum? What can I say... I was a freshman, and I thought that reselling ones books at the semester's end was simply what was done. One month later, I regretted it, and have regretted it ever since.
So what did I find, last Thursday, but two of the same books I had sold five years ago. I couldn't tell if they were the very same ones I had used, though they may well have been, considering they looked as if they'd hardly been used (Reasons Why I Reconsidered Going to Medical School). And what did the pair of them cost? Five dollars. Five dollars! I bought them on the spot, and have added them to my collection of Books to Which I Will Refer Twice Every Decade.

Another, completely unrelated, story: Dave and I, from time to time, enter into an arrangement whereby I will call a local pizza shop or Chinese restaurant and order food for him and me to be delivered, and then he pays for it. As far as I'm concerned, the worst part of this arrangement is dealing with Dave, but I get free food. I don't know what his motivation is. Last weekend, Dave decided that we should have pizza. I was up for that. So I thought to call Johnny's Pizza, down the street at Drumlins. But Dave says that he wants to make the call. Why? I ask him. "Because you don't know how to argue, and I can." Argue what? I wonder aloud, but I get no answer. He makes the call.
"Hey, this is Dave Holaway, down here at 927 Thus'n'such. You guys hooked me up with a pie a while back. It was [looking at paper where I had written down the toppings to be ordered] half everything including anchovies, and half...
What, no anchovies? [speaking to the air] Honey, uh, not this place? [to the phone] No, she's looking at me like I'm an idiot. Guess I'm not getting any tonight. [laughs] Okay, so that's half everything, no anchovies, and half pepperoni and mushrooms. Now, you can put some extra on there, right? You know what I'm saying? If it costs two-three dollars more. Put a little extra on there.... Holaway. Can you believe it, an Irish man married to an Italian woman.... Half an hour? Okay."
He gets off the phone and says, "See how I talked myself out of that one?" And I'm thinking, Yeah, if you hadn't talked yourself into it in the first place....
So a half an hour comes and goes. Dave is pacing a hole in the living room floor, he's so hungry. I guess he thought the guy had said it would be forty-five minutes, cos he waits until it's been almost an hour before he tells me to call them back. So I do. "I'm calling from 927 Thus'n'such Drive. We ordered a pizza from you fifty-five minutes ago, and we're wondering what's happened to it." The guy on the phone asks someone else, then comes back and says, "We don't have any orders for that address. Are you sure you called this store?" I said, "Johnny's. Down by Peter's. Yeah, we used the same number both times." At this point, Dave wants to do the talking, and I'm just curious enough to see what he's gonna do to let him do it. So he gets on and starts talking--I don't know what he's talking. He's like, "Yo, what's up? What's goin' on?" but hokier than you can imagine. So he continues bantering on in this manner, 'cept he's pissed that the pizza's so late. I guess what happened was that he hadn't made it clear that he wanted the pizza delivered, so it was still at the parlour waiting to be picked up. When he gets off the phone, he says something about his "Italian accent." I'm thinking, That was an Italian accent?

Joe, you just can't win: Currently your banner ad reads
Support Same-Sex Marriage
Lapel pins, jewelry & stickers that
promote gay pride & civil rights

as well as
Iraq- Winning the Peace
Read John Kerry's Plan The Right Choice
for President

Mine are almost invariably about blogs and website design and hosting, with the occasional reference to Japan. And recently "golf lessons" has appeared on Scott's banner ad, along with the inexplicable "Wedding Anniversary Gifts."

The Vacuum Cleaner Game
Darth Vader: Man of Prayer

Goodnight everybody!

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

The Passion Bandwagon

Well, I've finally finished Atlas Shrugged. And boy are my arms tired.
I'll share something I find interesting from the John Galt speech (p1029, softcover edition):

If a mother buys food for her hungry child rather than a hat for herself, it is not a sacrifice: she values the child higher than the hat; but it is a sacrifice to the kind of mother whose higher value is the hat, who would prefer her child to starve and feeds him only from a sense of duty. If a man dies fighting for his own freedom, it is not a sacrifice: he is not willing to live as a slave; but it is a sacrifice to the kind of man who's willing.

I saw The Passion of the Christ last Thursday. In light of that movie, I found this quote very interesting. If Ayn Rand hadn't considered the death of Christ to be a cosmic waste of time, literature, and intellect, she might have said that his death wasn't a sacrifice: He simply gave up something good for something better.

I'd have to agree.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

-Hebrews 12.2-4

The Passion is aptly named, because it gives little back story, concentrating solely on Jesus' death. He performs one miracle at the beginning of the movie, and otherwise demonstrates how a good man might die well. Oh, and a bunch of guys beat the crap out of him. Frankly, I've seen secular films that were more inspiring that this.

The death of Jesus, in isolation, is meaningless. Most of the people who have ever lived have also died, and many of them unjustly. In one scene, while Jesus stumbles under the weight of his cross, his mother runs up to him to offer what small comfort she can. He takes her face in his hand and says, "See Mother, I make all things new!"
But we don't see. The resurrection is limited to the last 45 seconds of the film, rendered anticlimactic, far more subdued than the brutal beating we watched for the previous two hours.

And those beatings were only a mosquito bite compared to the real suffering Jesus endured that could never be captured on film: the separation of himself from the Father. Judas' guilt drove him to suicide; imagine such a guilt magnified billions of times, and one might come close to understanding the burden placed on Jesus.

So what is the point? The passage from Hebrews explains it well: my knowledge of the suffering of Jesus keeps my own life in perspective. I put up with some crap from time to time, and some of it has been my own fault--but it's nothing compared to what Jesus had to put up with... if "put up with" is even an appropriate phrase. This point is alighted upon in one of the movie's flashback scenes, when Jesus tells his disciples that they ought not expect better treatment than what he will receive.

And for those who haven't been keeping score, the Jews didn't kill Jesus. The Romans didn't kill Jesus. We did, insofar as our sin necessitated his death. I didn't encounter the idea of the Jews as a race being responsible for Jesus' death until I was in college, and at the time I thought it was quite silly. I take it more seriously now, in the realization that others take it very seriously; it's still nonsense, though.

But I digress. What was my original point? Oh, yes.
Apart from reminding myself that I shouldn't expect to get off any easier than Jesus did, I really don't see the point of dwelling on his death. "He suffered. Oh, he suffered. Look how much he suffered. He did it for you, too." Meh. Am I forever thankful? Lord, yes. But can we move on? He rose from the dead! I don't have to live by every whim of my desperately wicked heart. I can get all up in God's grill, so to speak. And you know why he died? Because he wanted to. We are the joy set before him, those who will accept his payment and embrace the freedom he gave us.

As a born-again Christian, I understood the meaning behind Jesus' statement, "I make all things new." But I also recognized that anyone who didn't have at least a familiarity with the New Testament Scripture would find that scene highly ironic, at best. So that's my major gripe with the movie: context, context, context. Context.