Monday, December 19, 2005


You think back, recalling all the conversations you've been in today. With whom have you spoken? What did you say? Who else did you wave to as you walked down the hall? Could your fly really have been open that whole time? Wow. Better remember to check more often.

Friday, December 16, 2005


We're sitting in a train, the Blue line Metro in Washington. A woman gets on the train, sits and immediately takes off her shoes. Odd. She follows up by taking off her socks, and taking a pair of fancy shoes from her bag. Reshod, she touches up her makeup, switches around her scarf, and heads out into the cold, winter air.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


True story. I'm walking down the road, trying to find that happy medium between the muddy shoulder and getting run over. So one foot is muddy, and the other is four inches higher and on asphalt. The whole time, I keep thinking to myself, "Dangit, dangit, dangit". And then I wonder, why the heck am I using standins for expletives? What the heck is wrong with me, even my internal monologue is PG.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


We went boldly into our new home, leaving behind the hangers and hangups of old spaces. In particular, we left behind the wire hangers we had accumulated throughout a life of collecting. "Leave them, leave them, leave them. We will get new ones in our new home." Trusting in the ubiquity of wire hangers, we left our hangers in our old space. In our new space, we are exploding with possibilities, but if we want wire hangers, we have to get something dry-cleaned, because they just don't sell wire hangers at the store.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Two years since I've been a serious programmer. In the interim, I've done some toy programming, a little perl grease for the wheels of an otherwise working website for example. But no real programming, no real projects. Such is life when you're writing your dissertation. Anyway, I dusted off my Java IDE today, got the latest version of everything, and was ready to dive in to my latest idea.

I should have looked before I dove in. I nearly broke my neck on all the new stuff. I mean, aspects, annotations, generics, unit testing, oh my. Back when I started my graduate student career I did not understand how my advisor could become so behind the times (she has a Ph.D. in computer science from MIT, and shared an office with RMS, surely she'd never let her coding skills slip, right?). But now I understand. I'm going to let myself go. This next generation of my ideas will likely be implemented by someone else, a snot-nosed know it all, I hope. One that will never understand how I could let my skills lapse.

But that's the circle of life. Right up until I eat that know it all for being a little too snide. Then it's more of, say, an ellipse of life.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


I'm cruising home, along the interstate. We're all moving along at a pretty speedy clip. So I don't have time to deal with what's happening. There's a huge, enormous, beyond words large flock of birds flying over the freeway. It stretches from one edge of my windshield to the other, and goes on for the two or so minutes they're in sight before I drive under them. I want to stop the car, get out and just ogle it. It is beautiful. I don't know what kind of birds they are, they're smaller than, say ducks. But they're beautiful.

The next night, they're there again. And the next. At some point, I stopped noticing them.

Friday, November 04, 2005


I jumped onto my desk. Just now. Just to prove I still could. It was a standing leap, maybe about three feet. Let's see, it seems like my desktop is just a little below hip-level on me. Not bad, not bad at all.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


I have high expectations of my music. I want the words to evoke, invoke, and revoke. I want to be transported to another realm by the poetry involved in good songwriting. That's why I like Ani diFranco. She's got a good voice, but if you listen to what she's saying, it's a whole other level. "I'm going to get my feet wet until I drown", "I used to be a hero ... you are like a phonebooth that I somehow stumbled into". Seriously man, it makes me feel all inadequate that I cannot express myself so cleverly. But that's why I'm not a famous singer.

That and I cannot sing. I have been told that singing with me is great and low pressure, since you don't have to worry about the right notes. But you do have to worry about my made up, in-between notes that are neither sharp nor flat.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


I love this time of year. Autumn, Fall, whatever you want to call it. The leaves turn colors, there's a chill in the air that puts me in mind of pumpkins, turkey, mulled cider. This time of year, I'm a sucker for themed foods. Take coffee, for example. Normally I turn my nose up at flavored coffees. Vanilla hazelnut coffee? No thank you. No thank you very much. Stuff tastes like butt. Vanilla hazelnut flavored butt, but butt nonetheless. The problem is they use lousy coffee and then add a crappy flavor to it. No surprise it tastes that way.

Anyway, even I cannot pass up the pumpkin spice flavored coffee this time of year. I buy it in cafes when it's offered, and I just bought a pound of it at the store. I love that pumpkin spice flavor, which is applied to the coffee beans in the form of an oily substance, which causes the beans to glisten in an appealing manner. It also causes the grounds to stick to the side of my grinder in an unappealing manner.

Of course, the coffee still tastes like butt. Pumpkin spice butt, mmmm, Autumn even makes butt taste good.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


fading in, coming out of commmercial. We see a replay of the last few seconds of last week's episode.

"Stop it." There's a voice behind me, recognizable but unexpected. "You're being sophomoric. Both UD and MSU are land-grant schools, it only makes sense that they would be near agriculture. Agriculture smells bad, that's just the way it is."

I don't even need to turn around. "How the hell did you get here?"

We see DARRYL standing behind me, looking serious. He speaks.

"It isn't enough for you to move. You are still the same person you have always been. More to the point, you're still a sophomoric pissant who needs the occasional slapdown in order to stay focused. I mean, so what. You're thirty now, you going to make some big philosophical treatise about how things change but really stay the same. This whole diatribe is trite, but you know what I mean."

And then he hits me in the head with a stick. I think back to my days as an undergrad when things seemed much simpler. Or maybe that was the alcohol. Who knows. Without turning around, I say, "Maybe people do change. I won't be seeing you again." Trudging toward my office.

"You won't see me, but I will be there nonetheless."

He's such an asshole.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


It's a beautiful day, the sun is shining through the clouds, the storm seems to have washed the air clean. So, on my drive into work, I roll down my windows and try and enjoy the beauty; after all, I will be in my cinder block office with no windows for the next eight hours or so.

There's some kind of funky smell in the air. It smells like, hmm, what's that smell? Dirty diapers, that's it. The air in Newark smells just like dirty diapers. What the heck? That's not cool. So, getting out of my car, I ask someone else in the parking lot, "do you smell that funky smell?"

"Yes", she replies, "it's the smell of Lancaster county. They have mushroom farms there, and that's what they smell like. When the wind is just right, that smell wafts our way."

So wow. At Michigan State, where I was an undergrad, they had these fields they would manure every so often, you could smell that too. Two universities out of three that I have been associated with have the aura of feces occasionally pervading their space. What a coincidence.

"Stop it." There's a voice behind me, recognizable but unexpected. "You're being sophomoric. Both UD and MSU are land-grant schools, it only makes sense that they would be near agriculture. Agriculture smells bad, that's just the way it is."

I don't even need to turn around. "How the hell did you get here?"

The camera pans out and up, going just from a framing shot of my face to revealing more and more of the parking lot behind me. A figure, standing twenty yards back, is still blurry and indistinct. As he comes into focus, the scene goes dark and is replaced by the words

To be continued...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Laser hair removal commercial on the radio. "Well, if I had laser hair, I'd want it removed too. That sounds fairly alarming". Whoop whoop whoop, look out, laser hair on the loose! "chhhchrp ... and today, in Chicago, thirty people were balded when a hair laser went rogue ... chhhchrp". Some day, I will go bald. How will I react? Will I do the comb-over? Will I get a toupee? What about implants? Or will I just let it go. I know a guy with a military-style flat top (he's in the military, fancy that (but he can't fancy things, because of the whole don't fancy don't tell policy)), anyway, this flat top has a hole in the middle. Don't get me wrong, he looks fine, but he clearly isn't doing anything about his impending baldiosity. Did you know that "ericaceous" is a word? True story.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


It's Tuesday. That must be why I'm wearing these weird pants. It's Tuesday, and I'm having a flashback moment. I take a surreptitious look at my wristwatch and note the date. Hmm, the fact that I'm wearing a wristwatch at all means I must be in high school. The calculator-watch stares back at me, reflecting the light from the overhead fluorescent bulbs. Of course the watch knows what year it is, but I do too now. By the state of my pants, it is 1993 and I am in high school again. Or still. Or whatever.

I get up, leave my books near my desk, and walk out of the classroom. My physics teacher doesn't say anything, I remember him being one of those progressive teachers who gives students freedom to do things like go to the bathroom during class. Anyway, I don't even bother with the bathroom. I go out into the hallway, and take off my wristwatch, let it drop to the floor. While I'm at it, I take off my pullover poncho and the Nirvana t-shirt that it covered. Gathering steam, off come the Chuck Taylor All Star Converse Hi-Tops (in purple), the ripped and patched Levi's 501 Jeans and the boxers. All that I am wearing now are socks, and that's because I'm in the wing of the school with tile floors. I walk slowly over to the carpeted area so I can take the socks off too.

A shout from behind me, it's some administrator or another. "What the heck is going on here?" He actually said heck.

So I turn around and say, "Isn't this one of those dreams where I'm still in high school and I'm naked and everyone is looking at me, and I'm about to wake up?".

"No, this isn't one of those dreams. You're just naked, put your clothes back on." I can see in his hands, he has collected all the items I shed back outside my physics classroom.

Talk about embarrassing.

Saturday, September 03, 2005


Some things really cheese me off. People who refer to one-way mirrors as two-way mirrors, for example. They're always talking about them in cop shows and other places. To me, a two-way mirror would be a piece of normal glass, something that allows light to go two ways through it. A one-way mirror would be those things they have in the police station, behind which the trembling witness can point her finger at a wrongdoer. A zero-way mirror would be your average, run of the mill, mirror.

Then again, there's no arguing with the crossword puzzle. Lasonerd is clearly not a word, so two-way mirror it is, which makes lasonerd into lastword. It's like getting a trivial pursuit card with an incorrect question on it. Just really cheeses me off. Or perhaps, should I say, yogurts me off?

No. I should not say that.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


I look around, I look around, and I see a lot of new faces. That means a lot of you are breaking the first two rules of yogurt club. If tonight's your first night, you have to eat. None of that nonfat kind for you, oh no. Only the real yogurt, the kind with actual fat and real fermentation instead of artificial thickeners. Emulsify this, punk.

What's that you say? The only yogurt you can find is low fat, sugar free, whitened and lecthin-ized processed milk product? Well then, have I got a yogurt for you. Well, technically, I'm not really sure what it is, but I got this bottle of organic milk at Ye Olde Organice Foode Shoppe last month, and it has been fermenting in my desk drawer ever since. Never mind the smell. Drink it! Drink it or I'll drink it for you, at you, and otherwise near you!

Yogurt is good for you, and I, for one, am sick and tired of diet yogurt. I say, never be complete, never be perfect, put down that processed food and live a little. Get some real intestinal flora, come on! When the revolution comes, are you going to be left behind because all of your lactobacilli are pathetic?

Rise up my brothers and sisters, rise up and ferment!


I've moved. Three timezones to the east. The things that get to you are the little differences. I've been drinking a lot less beer, since you have to buy it at a liquor store. No grocery store beer means no impulse purchase beer, and a lot more impulse purchase potato chips. So, it's not like I'm in danger of losing weight.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


I looked as he opened the first seal, that which closed the bread. Reaching in, he withdrew two slices and placed them upon his plate. Then he broke the second seal, freeing the ham from its prison. Smoked ham it was, from the black forest. This ham was carefully laid upon one of the slices of bread. The third seal was then broken, and cheese was loosed upon the world. A powerful swiss cheese it was indeed. Taming the power of the cheese, he sliced it and put the slices on the ham. Then I watched as he broke the fourth seal, channeling all that was mustard unto the ages and upon the other slice, the naked slice of bread. Thus clothed in mustard, it was laid upon the cheese, upon the ham, upon the other bread. Yea, verily, a sandwich had been formed.

His work was not complete, however. He took that sandwich and placed it within his microwave, heating it for twenty seconds on high. Finally, withdrawing the now warm sandwich from the microwave, he spaketh unto all the creatures of the land, the birds of the air and the fish under the sea, "I am destined to eat this sandwich."

And eat it he did, oh yes, eat it he did.

Monday, January 17, 2005


The airplane lands, and we're taxiing to the gate. Behind me, a guy turns on his cell phone and calls somebody. Because he's somewhat loud, I can't help but listen. Plus which, they made me turn my iPod off, so I've got nothing else to do with my ears.

During this conversation my nameless fellow passenger actually refers to the person on the other end of the line as "Woman". As in, "Woman, just come and pick me up!", or angrily, "Woman, you drove my truck! I told you not to do that!" After a short discussion about where "his woman" should park to pick him up, he ends the conversation with a "love you, sweetie" in a completely different tone of voice.