A Day in the Life

Every day a different life,

A different job, a different strife.

With every day that I get old,

A new piece of me retold.

Location: River Grove, Illinois, United States

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Today, an Addict

Realizing this is my first post in a while, I've decided to spend the next few paragraphs explaining myself. Now, I'm sure right now you're thinking that I've become addicted to something, well, that people become addicted to, like drugs or such. Or maybe you're thinking that it's something crazy like shooting derbisol into my eye while waterskiing off the coast of Washington State. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but it's none of these. In fact, it's a series of odd things; let me begin.

Addiction No. 1: 8-Bit Theater
8-Bit Theater is an online comic strip made by Brian Clevinger. It is set in the world of Final Fantasy...the original one. It stars a crew of misfit heroes who claim to be the prophesized "light warriors" who will save the world from chaos. The characters are so ridiculous in their actions and portrayed as if one was actually reading a novel. They find themselves trying to overcome humorous situations with incompetent evil-doers while quarreling among themselves. I'm not sure why, but every time I open the page for the site I can't stop reading. It's a must-see for anyone who enjoys witty humor and has any background in RPGs.
Nuklear Power Homepage

Addiction No. 2: Katamari Damacy
No group of people have ever done more Japanese acid than the people who made this game. Made for PS2, this puzzle/platformer? revolves around a pint size alien who has to put all the stars back in the sky. It seems that his burnt-out father, the king of the cosmos, knocked them all out when he was drunk. Now, he is sending his son to Earth to fix his problem. How, you ask? The main character is given a super-sticky ball called a katamari which he rolls around to pick things up with. You start off small (5 cm) and have to work your way up to a certain height by picking up object like tacks and crayons until eventually you can get scissors, books and even cats! As the game progresses you are given more time to complete your objectives and a larger starting height. By the end you can get cars, buildings, boats and islands. It even has a great sondtrack: Japanese pop music! Hideo-usly addicting gameplay!
Katamari Damacy Page by Namco
(By the way, the Hideo comment was reference to a very famous Japanese video game creator. He is responsible for such games as Metal Gear: Solid and many others.)

Addiction No. 3: David Sunflower Seeds
I haven't eaten these things in 5 years, and never planned on eating them again, until Ian brought some back from home. The reason I never wanted to eat them again is because they are so ridiculously addicting; they blow the other two out of the water. I find myself going for just a handful but taking half the bag at once! But the real problem is that unlike Ian, I swallow the entire seed, which tends to be painful sometimes. Some people prefer to spit the seeds out, but I'd rather swallow the entire thing... Anyways, they tend to be very sharp on the way down, and I'm pretty sure that they're chewing up my insides, yet I cannot stop eating them. If anyone knows the number for sunflower rehab, please call me immediately! Or, if you're like me, try them out yourself. I'm sure you'll like them just as much.
David Sunflower Seeds

Addiction No. 4: ECE
I'm not sure why, but lately I've become addicted to Electrical and Computer Engineering. Everything I look at has to be analyzed from an electrical perspective, and I mean everything. The other day when I was at ISU, Annie pointed out to me that her new Christmas lights were up and commented on the fact that it was good that all the lights didn't go out because one had. I then realized that they used small resistors (or crappy wires) in parallel with each light to keep them from going out. Also, my ECE 110 lab partner and I just finished our car that is de in four weeks. Our goal was to wire a small car to autonomously follow a strip of white tape along a closed path. By setting eight infrared sensors in a semicircle in front of the car we programmed it to not follow the tape, but avoid it. It works greatly, but there are a few improvements we could make to allow it to run perfectly at any speed. At any rate, no pun intended, I'm becoming more of a nerd with each passing day.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Today, a Messenger

Once again, nothing funny happened in the life, unless you want to hear about how much fun it is writing a paper on the Iliad. Yeah, I thought not. I did, however, gather a few quotes on the finest professional field of all time: engineering. All of these quotes are from the good people at quotationspage.com.

Engineering is an activity other than purely manual and physical work which brings about the utilization of the materials and laws of nature for the good of humanity.
R. E. Hellmund, 1929

Engineering is a great profession. There is the fascination of watching a figment of the imagination emerge through the aid of science to a plan on paper. Then it moves to realisation in stone or metal or energy. Then it brings homes to men or women. Then it elevates the standard of living and adds to the comforts of life. This is the engineer's high privilege.
Herbert Hoover (1874 - 1964)

Engineering is the art of organizing and directing men and controlling the forces and materials of nature for the benefit of the human race.
Henry G. Stott, 1907

Engineering is the professional and systematic application of science to the efficient utilization of natural resources to produce wealth.
T. J. Hoover and J. C. L. Fish, 1941

Engineering is the practice of safe and economic application of the scientific laws governing the forces and materials of nature by means of organization, design and construction, for the general benefit of mankind.
S. E. Lindsay, 1920

Engineering is the professional art of applying science to the optimum conversion of natural resources to the benefit of man.
Ralph J. Smith

The engineer is the key figure in the material progress of the world. It is his engineering that makes a reality of the potential value of science by translating scientific knowledge into tools, resources, energy and labor to bring them into the service of man ... To make contributions of this kind the engineer requires the imagination to visualize the needs of society and to appreciate what is possible as well as the technological and broad social age understanding to bring his vision to reality.
Sir Eric Ashby

Engineering is not merely knowing and being knowledgeable, like a walking encyclopedia; engineering is not merely analysis; engineering is not merely the possession of the capacity to get elegant solutions to non-existent engineering problems; engineering is practicing the art of the organized forcing of technological change... Engineers operate at the interface between science and society...
Dean Gordon Brown

Engineering is the Life.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Today, an Artist

Lately things have just been mediocre, so I don't have any funny stories to tell today, unless anyone really wants to hear about how great studying is. I did do one cool thing however; I made a collage of pictures from my favorite movie, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I have it set as my desktop background right now, which actually turned out pretty cool.

If you want to use it as yours, or save it in general, you have to right-click the picture and open it in a new window to see it in full size...I think. Try playing around with it. It's much cooler when you can actually read the little blue print.

Actually, one humorous thing did happen to me. I was in my ECE lab on Monday and was testing out the autonomous car we have to make when I ran into a few problems. I was testing it on the track made of white tape it has to follow using infrared sensors, and the car didn't want to make 90 degree turns. This isn't really that bad seeing as we still have five weeks to get it to work completely. I saw my TA in front of me, and when I caught his eye, I asked him about problems with two of the sensors. Just then, I heard a voice from behind me; it was my TA's! I turned around to see him standing behind me smiling. I couldn't quite figure out at first what was happening, until I turned back around to face the first person I saw, who was now also grinning at me. I then realized that I had actually been talking to his twin brother, which he explained to me. It was at about that time when my brain shut down completely for the rest of the day.

Twins confuse and frighten me. It's hard enough dealing with one of someone. Especially whe you don't know if that someone is actually the one you want to deal with.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Today, a Botanical Engineer

It might not be a field that many of you are familiar with, but botanical engineers are truly the adhesive of our frail society. Or, as I should say, they are the tape and wire which hold together the flower which is our world. Allow me to explain...

This story begins last week, Tuesday if I remember clearly. I was walking through the quad with Ian and we passed the Southern patio of the union. People usually have strange tables set up there, offering you free poptarts or tying to convince you to become a vegetarian. This time, however, one of the tables was set up by a sorority that was selling roses. I thought, "Man, that would make a great gift for Annie for sweetest day." Sweetest day, a fake holiday, just happens to also fall on our year-and-a-half, so I definitely had to get one. When I saw that the price was $1.50 per flower, I was apprehensive, but quickly changed my mind when one of the girls pointed out to me that they were donating proceeds for breast cancer research. So I bought one and filled out a card that said they would deliver it anywhere on campus for free the following Thurday...yesterday. I figured that whether Annie came here or I went there, she'd still get the rose and I would look awesome.

So yesterday night rolled around and as I was walking back to the room after dinner I noticed that the flowers had arrived for many people. I went to my mailbox, got the reciept for my package, gave it to the girl at the mail desk, and got my flower. As I brought it back up to the room I figured that the best place to keep it would be in a cup of water in the fridge. When I tried to place the rose in the fridge I noticed it was too big, so I snapped the bottom part off right at the lowest leaves. However, the section above that decided to follow its colleague and also broke off. Now, I was looking at a flower that went from way too long, to just right, to way too short. I knew what I had to do instantly.

Using my awesome skills as a botanical engineer, I quickly pulled a few tacks apart and used the metal parts as a sort of spine for the stem. After a few tries I finally got it to work, but I knew it wasn't going to hold for long. I took an entire roll of scotch tape and began to wrap the wound vigorously, creating the ugliest flower imaginable. Realizing that I had to spiff it up, I looked around for the first thing that caught my eye: a roll of red electrical wire. I wrapped all I had left around the wire and tied it off. And as a last decoration, I made the ends of the wire into a heart. Awwwwww.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Today, a Linguist

I’m writing this one so early in the morning because I just happened to forget that my math discussion was cancelled today, not like it matters. The way my professor is teaching the class, I could get up in front and do a better job then he does. Anyways, I just wanted to say that although this post starts out very strangely and really doesn’t explain the title, stick with it.

I looked up at the sky this morning, and just like several other days this week God forgot something. God left the canvas blank; there wasn’t a single color in the sky other then the exact same bleak shade of grey all the way across. It’s odd actually, thinking about what life would be like under a blank sky everyday, with no astronomy, no weather forecasts, no seafaring. What if she never painted us a picture above our heads, a picture of something to look forward to, or to be cautious of?

It’s time to back this post up a bit. That’s right, I called God by the feminine personal pronoun, “she”. So commonplace, this three-letter word carries with it a lot of power when used in the right place. Many people have tried to argue either side of this issue, whether God is be referred to by “him” or “her”. In this post and in all that follow I am going to use the word “she” for various reasons. The first is that it just makes sense that the being who gave life to the entire universe should have feminine connotation as our creator. Secondly, it brings us back to the idea of the sacred female that was lost so long ago, pushed out of society by ultraconservative religion. Speaking of which, the third is that it’s another way for my beliefs to contradict those of the Catholic Church, or as I like to call it, the Great Lie.

But actually, I’d rather not have to choose between two very rigid pronouns in describing my creator, or any other sexually ambiguous beings. I don’t understand why we don’t have a pronoun that is gender neutral, yet holds with it the idea of speaking about God or humans. Why can’t we have a word that could mean “he or she” and “him or her”? It could be used in place of “he” when referring to God, or the phrase “he or she” on documents that have been barraged with political correctness. However, this word would be much more than just “it”, its gender neutral cousin. (Yes, I realize that I just referred to the word as it, when I am trying to speak out against using that word. However, my new word refers to people, and that same word would still be referred to as “it”.) It would carry with it the idea of being human, yet perhaps also have the aura of unfamiliarity. (I.e. “I heard that the city is going to elect a new alderman for our district. I hope they elect a good one, because ‘he or she’ will have to do a lot of work.”) Don’t ask me to explain why I chose that example; it just seemed right.

What if we borrow a word from a different language, like German (aka English v1.0). We could use their word Sie (pronounced like the letter Z). In German this word means “you” [proper], but also means “they” when lowercase. We could just replace the phrase “he or she” with “sie” in everyday speech. Sure, it’s a stretch, and society would take a long time (possibly generations) to adapt to the change, but it seems so much better than our current system. We could even borrow other word like “sind” (zind) for “him or her”. How about “ihr” (eer) for “his or her”? It would make being politically correct so much easier. Actually, the easiest thing would be to forget this whole PC thing and just call whomever whatever we feel like.

Personally, I think this concept should go into effect as soon as possible. I should also get a Pulitzer Prize for my contribution to the English language. Well, maybe that’s pushing it a bit. Either way, think about it for a while; next time you hear your self say “he or she”, imagine already having a word to describe that condition. And then thank me and send me lots of money.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Today, a Meteorologist

An annual weather phenomenon occurred today that is probably more inexplicable than El Nino itself. Today, the world smelled; that’s right, the entire planet smelled funky.

The first time I really paid attention to this event was last year when Tim Martin, a guy at Fenwick, pointed out that everything smelled like dead fish. I had noticed this too, but felt that perhaps he was over exaggerating the fact. Then, everyone else at our table agreed and stated that they too thought there was something very odd about the weather that day. I was amazed by this for the mere fact that The Weather Channel has ever pointed this out before. This is probably because that group of liars can barely predict, and hardly explain, normal weather patterns. So I’ve come to a couple conclusions regarding why I think the world smells for one day a year.

Theory Number One:
This time every year, the salmon swim back to their home at the sources of many major rivers in order to continue the reproductive process. Many of these fish find their mating places deep within Canadian borders, where the Junior Americans are already waiting for them with all sorts of traps. So our neighbors catch hundreds of thousands of stinky fish and have them out in the open air during several parts of the delivery process. Combine this with the fact that as we get towards winter the winds prominently flow from the north, creating a massive stink-fest for hopefully only one day where the conditions are ideal for smell.

Theory Number Two:
As most university Chemistry courses follow the same basic outline, most classes will reach the section on light spectra and their relation to different compounds at roughly the same time. Now, I’m not sure how anyone ever figured this out, but because pickles contain large amounts of sodium, and because sodium emits light at the yellow area of the visible light spectrum (roughly 575 nm), when one runs current through a pickle it emits a strong yellow light. Although this sounds extremely strange (and it is) I did witness this bizarre event today, but that’s not all that happened. It seems that when one electrocutes a pickle it also gives off a hideous smell and sounds like it’s boiling on the inside. I first noticed the smell when I entered Noyes and the entire building reeked. Therefore theory number two is that there is a day in which most chemistry classes reach the section on light and many, many teachers feel the need to fry pickles and other smelly objects for the sake of education.

Theory Number Three:
Not as funny, this one involves preparation for the Eve of All Saints. I figure that there is a day in which kids all over the country begin to rot their eggs so they can be especially stinky come the big day. However, it’s not so much that they begin to let them rot on this day as that they’ve been letting them go for a week already, not realizing that eggs don’t need any more than a few days to reach their full stink potential. Stupid kids.

Other than that, I’d like to wish everyone a Happy Stink Day. I hope you all have a wonderfully smelly day. I also hope that everyone participates in at least one of the above three events today. Who knows, maybe the problem is actually a combination of all of the above theories. Either way, I still don’t know much about weather, but I do know that I smelled awful today.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Today, Moonlight

I'm going to start this post by explaining its reasoning and purpose. A Moonlight post is basically my way of venting about my day, which was probably really crappy. However, unlike most people who have blogs, I'm not going to complain about everything that went wrong and blame people to whom I lost friendships. I'm going to explain to you what's been going on inn my mind throughout the day. Basically the idea of these posts can be summed up in three words: Today, a Philosopher.

When I woke up today the song "Do you realize??" by The Flaming Lips implanted itself in my mind and hasn't left since. Actually, only a few lines from the song have been looping.

Do you realize that everyone you know some day will die?
And instead of saying all of your goodbyes, let them know you
Realize that life goes fast.
It's hard to make the good things last.
You realize the sun don't go down.
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning 'round.
Go to Audio, then click the first red box.

I've listened to this song countless times before, but for the first time ever the actual meaning hit me, hard. Everyone you know, including yourself is going to die. But don't look at it that way; try to enjoy what you have while you have it. And if you think that you're going to leave everyone forever one day, when you die, and never see them again, then you're wrong. (comparison to the sun; If you think that the sun actually disappears everyday, it deosn't. Its just an illusion caused by your grounded position.) We never die. We only think we do because we can only imagine the afterlife from our alive position. We can watch people die just like we watch the sun set, but we don't know where they go after that, unless you think about it this way; humans too go full cycle in their existence.

We don't disappear after we die. We merely leave this place for a while, return to our creator. And when we're ready, we head back and do it all over again. It really makes sense, too. If you've loved someone before you were born, then why can't you experience life once again with them. The person I love was born six days before me. Six days! It's so obvious that we were meant to be together form the start. Actually, my theory is that we had indeed met in a previous life(s) and just wanted to experience it all oever again. And although things get really crappy every once in a while, like now when we're fighting, overall I couldn't be happier. Deep down I want her to be happy, because that's all there is to life, happiness and the pursuit thereof. (Ian keyed me in on that one; everyone in one form or another is searching for their own personal happiness.) But I also want her to be safe, because we really do only have so much time on this Earth. Do you honestly think that God would let the evil in society experience the wonders of life with the most amazing person in the world? Of course not.

The Law of Conservation of Energy states that no energy can ever be created or destroyed. The Law of Conservation of mass states the same for mass. Obviously the human condition is comprised of both, often called the body and mind. (In this mind=soul) During one's life, the two are in perfect harmony, balancing each other within the physical plane of existence so one's being does not go out of control. When a person dies, the two seperate; the body retains its mass, but has no potential energy. They soul, while retaining its energy, suddenly aquires infinite potential energy. This is where God comes in; God is the only force that is powerful enough to keep one self intact. If you love God, then you are with God, and some call that heaven. If not, you are simply without God, and some call that hell.

And that's the nature of life outside of the physical, and how one's life ties in with the possibility (probability in my views) of other lives. The Flaming Lips are geniuses, and you should pick up any of their CDs as soon as possible. I recommend Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.

Tonight, tonight,

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Today, a Messenger

Today, the story is not about me, but about my roommate. Actually, it's not so much about him either as it's about a humorous event he witnessed. I call this post...

Asian Bear Fight

Ian began his history lecture in the most usual way; the Professor began talking about the Revolutionary War and what the students were to expect on upcoming quizzes and tests. Suddenly, from a few rows behind him, Ian heard someone shout "Fuck you!". He didn't bother to turn around as the teacher often plays tricks on his students by setting up those kinds of pranks. After the person shouted it out again, he realized that this was not, in fact, planned by the teacher. Then, without warning, an Asian student jumps into the aisle and screams "Fuck you, Bear!" Everyone turned towards the raving lunatic.

He was standing in the middle of the aisle now holding a plush, white teddy Bear near his face and shouting to the people around him, "This guy's a fucking asshole!" He then proceeded to beat the Bear senseless with his fist, punching it in the face and throwing it to the ground. The entire time he was swearing up a storm, calling his toy a "dick", "asshole" and "son-of-a-bitch". The Asian took the Bear and performed several wrestling moves on it, even suplexing it as he made his way towards the stage. The Professor, a six-foot-six man who was now chuckling a bit, told him to go take his seat, and that they had work to do.

It was then that the Asian did what no one expected; he climbed the stage and even went as far as to perform an elbow drop on the Bear within feet of the Professor. He took the toy, put it between his legs, jumped into the air, and landed on its head. He then picked it up and threw it onto a table with transparencies and lecture notes covering it, scattering the papers everywhere. One of the larger TAs decided he had enough of this and told the Asian to leave, but he did not respond. He took the Bear and jumped off the stage, still beating it and swearing at it incessantly.

The Professor, even still laughing, told him that was enough and that it was time to go. The Asian turned toward him and said, "Sorry, Professor, but this Bear's a fucking asshole." He picked up his bag and the Bear and stated, "Alright, get in the fucking bag." The Asian then took his Bear in his bag and left the auditorium, never to be seen again...

Ok, forget the last part, he was seen again. Nevertheless, I think that's a hilarious story and really wish I could have been there. For everyone who's never seen an Asian Bear Fight, myself included, it's one thing you should definitely experience in your lifetime.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Today, a Pool Shark

So tonight was the annual Bromley Hall Pool Tournament. Actually, it wasn't so much an anual tourney as it was a group of people who paid to shoot billiards in a systematic fashion. They literally were creating the brackets during the first round! And it probably won't be annual either becuase Ian and I asked the guy in charge if we could do this more frequently, and he suggested monthly.

For two dollars I managed to play two very good games against two pretty good Asians. The first was a little guy who really made me work for the win. I had just gotten my last ball in when I missed on the eight ball. Luckily when he shot at it he scratched; he also made the shot, which was somewhat frightening. I never enjoyed winning because my opponent lost. The second was a big guy who was even better than the first. I held the lead for most of the game, but screwed up on the eight ball. Then he followed suit, and I found myself with another chance for the win. It was a long shot, but didn't go in the hole. Actually, it felt the need to park itself within a centimeter of the hole after bouncing off the adjoining bumpers several times. So that was it; Asia wins again. At least there's one thing that Italians have that Asians don't...

There was some good news, however. The one chick in the tournament was pretty hot, pretty freakin hot indeed. It's not only rare to see women in a billiards tournament, but to see good looking ones! I've really got to find her and ask her if she wants to play a few games some time. Because, in the tradition of the very wise Henry Carney, it's always better to hang out with good looking chicks. Always.

Speaking of good looking chicks, it turns out that Annie hangs out with nothing but the kind. Talk about a good weekend at ISU; I was surrounded by hot the entire time. Yes, hot is now a noun. Speaking of random tangents, I just finished my first short story set in the world of the Del'Nai. It's not the greatest thing in the world, but it's really not meant to be. It's kind of just a brief background behind one of the protagonist's father. (FYI I've also begun to write my first book entitled Birth of the Del'Nai. I'm not going to describe it here because it would just be too...lazy... And so help me God, you will see that book followed by several others on the shelves of Borders under my pen name.)

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Today, an Idiot

Today has been well beyond frustrating. I woke up to realize I had to rush to a class I did not want to be at, followed by another immediately afterward. As if having information blasted at me isn't bad enough, all the free time I had between classes was spent in the Chem Annex working on IVLs. These things are terrible; they're similar to reading a chapter in the book and doing problems, except they're online. They take forever, yet I don't even read them or really look at what questions I'm answering. Waste of time.
Mythology after that wasn't that bad, until I got out and had to walk through the Courtyard of Depression, the most depressing place in the world. Did I mention that it's depressing? So I was almost back to my dorm when I realized that my bike wasn't on the rack outside my dorm. I remembered where it was, luckily; it was still tied to the sign outside Everitt Lab. I rode it to class yesterday afternoon so I wouldn't be late and forgot about it. Worse yet, I tied it to a sign that read, "Bikes must be left in bike racks." I wonder if it's still there...

On the plus side, Electronic Arts is coming today to give a talk about their new game Sims 2, so that should be cool. This is pretty much what I'm gonna do for a blog, which of I am only doing because Annie asked me very nicely to do. That, and because I really like to be cynical and make fun of people. So if you're the kind of person who likes to write about getting drunk and making out with random guys, or listing sad movies that make you cry and lose your manhood, then watch out. I might just have a few good ones to sling your way.

Also, if anyone wants to see the game Carney and I made in C++, just IM me at HKNorla and I'll send it to you. I'd like to post it somewhere, but it seems that's just not possible.