Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Impromptu depression counseling is not a fun part of this job.

Good night.

Read Betwixt the Lines...

Today, I felt like a kid in a candy store...or in a bookstore filled with really, really books (providing that this kid enjoys books).

But first, I'd like to ask: does anyone enjoy going to Target as much as I do? Probably, but I still enjoy it a lot. It's no coincidence that at the beginning of each semester, I have led the trip to Target to purchase supplies. This past Saturday, we had a 9am trip, which was painful for everyone to wake up for, but I still managed to get a healthy number of residents (interestingly, they were all Chinese, Japanese, or Korean). We went down to the nearby Target ("nearby" meaning two cities away) and split up. I spent 3 hours there, walking up and down every single aisle. I don't think I realized how great Target was until I came to college. I mean, they have everything! How can you not like it? In fact, I would go so far as to say that I enjoy Target as much as my mom likes Ross.

As it turns out, I went to a Ross today, so as to buy some workout clothes (in an effort to get me working out more). Apparently, there's some new material in the world of workout clothing that evaporates sweat, like, four times faster than normal. I was confused at first, though, because a shirt which claimed to be "large" was undeniably small. I asked one of my coworkers who was with me (one who knows more about this stuff than I do), and he explained that it's made to stretch, and I should just try it on.

So, after gathering a variety of stuff, I go into the fitting room and try this thing on. When I then looked in the mirror, my eyes shot wide open. Seriously, I looked like I belonged in a Castro District bar. Not only was it skin-tight, accentuating the curves of my body (the bad curves, people, the bad curves), it was also very, very thin material. You could see all of my chest hair, and my nipples were sticking out like push pins. If I were to wear this shirt, I would almost assuredly be working out alone. I don't want to horrify people, so I decided to go with the looser, more modest shirts.

Well, while I was there, one of my other co-workers (we apparently travel in groups) asked me:
Co-Worker: "Hey, Andrew? Want to go to Barnes & Noble?"
Me: "I dunno, maybe. Why, is there anything you need to get?"
Co-Worker: "No, it's just that it's closing down."
Me: "Oh, I...whaaaaaa????" (Note: Exaggerated a bit for effect.)
Co-Worker: "Yeah, they're closing this Thursday, so a bunch of stuff is on sale for, like, 50% off."
Me: "Oh...my...God!"
Co-Worker: "Yeah, I thought you might be interested in it."

Although I was still sad that the place was going, the prospect of cheap books was too tempting to pass up. And "50%" was somewhat misleading, at least for a portion of the books. You see, it wasn't 50% of the original price, it was 50% of the listed price. That means that if there was a book that was normally $25, but was on sale for a bargain price of $6, and had the white clearance sticker, it cost only $3! (And there actually were a couple of those.) I don't think I've ever gotten a handbasket in a bookstore before, but here it was definitely necessary. I was scanning every single book I could find, and I was beaming. The smile on my face was probably priceless to all the people around me. I was just having so much fun.

Maybe this goes back to what I was saying a few days ago, I'm not sure. All I know was, it was great. Here's a list of the books I got:
-The Little Black Book of Party Games (Mainly as a good idea source for RA community games.)
-The Book of Totally Useless Information (A trivia book. I absolutely love trivia books.)
-Do Fish Drink Water? (Another trivia book. You know, if you're ever on Jeopardy!, this is the stuff you want to know.)
-The Big Book of IQ Tests (To keep my mind sharp, especially since I'm planning on taking the Mensa test this summer [this time, with 100% more test and 100% less wallet-losing].)
-Grant Comes East (A Civil War novel, primarily for my dad.)
-The Rough Riders (Somewhat also for my dad, but also for me to Teddy Roosevelt, just in case certain things ever come to fruition.)
-Dance of Death (Actually, just some random novel, but it had an interesting cover [see kids, you can judge a book that way] and for $3, how can you lose?)
-Spies and Spymasters of the Civil War (Yes, my dad would like this, but so would I. Spies!)
-The Illustrated Dream Dictionary (I always like books that have to do with interpreting dreams.)
-The Short and Bloody History of Knights, Spies, and Pirates (With the possible exception of the word "Short", I think this may just be the most captivating title ever!)
-Civil War: Ghosts and Legends (Yes, you may be thinking this was bought for my dad, but it was primarily because I likes me ghost stories.)
-Spirit of the Wolf (This is a large book about, well, wolves. It has a ton of beautiful, full-color pictures; it's great.)

So there you go. That's nearly 3000 pages and $225 worth of books, purchased for $50. Considering that that's less than you're normal textbook, I'd say it's a pretty good deal. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some light reading to do.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Some Pros and Cons of Being on the Eighth Floor of a Building

Pro: Being a legitimate elevator user.
Con: Having to use the elevator.

Pro: That feeling of satisfaction when you have all your stuff and go down the elevator to the first floor.
Con: "...I think I forgot my wallet...*sigh*"

Pro: You can leave your windows open all night, and nobody can see you.
Con: ...Well, they can't see you when you're sitting. Make sure you're wearing pants when you stand up.

Pro: I have a beautiful view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the entire SF Bay.
Con 1: The rooms with the Golden Gate view are those across from mine.
Con 2: Fog.
Pro: I do have a beautiful view of the courtyard and the Berkeley hills.
Con: The hills are fine, but there are often a bunch of smoking international students in the courtyard. (Seriously, though, they smoke like there's no tomorrow. Especially the French and the Indians. I really wish the first person who had thought of cigarettes...um, hadn't.)

Pro: There are always attractive girls sunbathing on the lawn below me.
Con: There is a tree directly in my line of sight to the lawn.

Pro: The random pebble or scrap of food can be thrown out the window, and no one's the wiser.
Con: You're not allowed to throw pebbles or scraps of food out the window.

Pro: It's cooler in the summertime, since it's slightly in the atmosphere than the lower levels.
Con: It's hotter in the summertime, since hot air rises.

Pro: No loud jerk above you.
Con: A jerk below you who thinks you're a loud jerk above him. (Hasn't happened...yet.)

Pro: It's out of the way, so people from other floors don't come over to bother you.
Con: It's out of the way, so people from other floors don't come over to visit you. (Though, with an elevator in place, this may be the case with most floors. You could completely avoid some floors altogether.)

Pro: I have dominion over all I see.
Con: Not actually true.

Oh, in a completely unrelated, un-segued topic, I would just like to say that orcas are vicious. Vicious. People don't realize that just because they're friendly to humans (why, I don't know), they are called Killer Whales. That's not because they were named by oceanographer James T. Killer. It's because they're, like unstoppable. I told you the other day that I was watching some nature documentaries. Well, I was watching the Blue Planet and saw the following:

Intense, no? (And just so you know, that corpse isn't wasted; it'll feed sea creatures for years.) But yeah, apparently, the orca is the world's deadliest predator. What about the Great White Shark?, you ask. Ho hum, the killer whales kill them, too. So just think, the next time you're at Seaworld, when you're looking at Shamu and saying, "Oh, it's so cute," remember that he's staring back at you...hungry...and waiting.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

A Quick Note on Humor and Sitcoms

Wow, busy day. And I have to get up early tomorrow, so it's off to bed with me. But I've realized today that a sitcom does not need humor to make you laugh at it. All it needs is a laugh track. "Laugh, and the world laughs with you," right. Basically, you could show someone reading out of a phone book, but as long as there was someone laughing in the background, you'll laugh along. How have I come to this shocking conclusion? Simple. It's because this video is funnier than it has any right to be:

I particularly like the single jackass laugh at 1:43. Goodnight, everyone!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Live and Learn...

THE_BOLSHEVIK: "Hey, Kris, would you say I'm a polymath...or a philomath?"
Kris: "Mmm......philo."
THE_BOLSHEVIK: "Goddammit!"


You should have seen my Netflix shipment today. Basically everything in it has the word "Life" (or a variant) in the title. I've basically gotten all of the Discovery Channel/BBC nature documentaries by David Attenborough. These include (thus far):
-The Blue Planet
-The Life of Mammals
-The Life of Birds
-Life in the Freezer
-Life in the Undergrowth
-Living Planet

And it's all culminating down to the newest release, Planet Earth. If you want to know why, I highly recommend you watch the video on the Amazon product page, or perhaps this shorter, fan made "trailer."

When one of my residents saw all the DVDs I had, he asked me, "Why do you get so many documentaries?" I laughed a little bit and said I had two reasons.

The first? Well, I love animals (with a few exceptions). One of my favorite stories is when I went to Joshua Tree National Park for a high school Physics field trip (we were watching a meteor shower). I woke up early the next morning, before anyone else arose, even the sun. There was a lovely twilight, though, and I decided to walk around before the others got up. Now, Joshua Tree is one of my ideas of heaven, so it was a beautiful walk. Along the way, I saw a bunch of animals, from lizards to hares and other such creatures.

At one point, though, I saw a coyote. And the coyote saw me. We were about 30 feet from each other, maybe (my memory with distances isn't that great). But we just looked at each other. And slowly, ever so slowly but surely, we moved closer to each other, until we were finally about 5 to 10 feet away from each other. I went down on to one knee, and for what seemed like a full minute, we were just...staring at each other. Not in a hostile way, mind you, but in a sort of understanding way. As though through our eyes, we could see into each other's souls. It was a very Franciscan moment, I can tell you that. Dangerous? Perhaps. Worthwhile? Definitely. And even though it walked away and probably forgot about me, that coyote left a lasting impression on me.

So a love of animals, check. What's the second reason I would get so many documentaries? Well, there's a reason I put that little intro skit at the beginning of this. Although THE_BOLSHEVIK would rather be classified as a polymath (which I may very well be to a small extent), there's no denying that I am a philomath, a lover of learning. If I could, I would try to be learning all the time. Unfortunately, school often makes that difficult. Seriously, though, I think that schools, or rather people's distaste for them, have kept many people from trying to expand their knowledge. Not always, but sometimes.

However, one of my goals is to enlighten myself, and hopefully some others. After all, that's why I tend to have so many Wikipedia links in my posts. Also, when I was a freshman, I would send home a letter every two weeks. During my freshman year, I was taking a class called "Physics for Future Presidents" taught by Richard Muller, a man whose website you should visit (if only of the excellent photographs he's taken in the "Photos" section), and a man I am convinced will win a Nobel Prize if his Nemesis Star theory is proven correct. I liked this professor so much, that I am naming not one, but two characters, in two separate stories, after him. One of these characters is actually the main protagonist of one of my stories (the character name is "Prof. Richard Moeller" or "Professor Rick"). My hope is that the story is published before he gets the Nobel Prize. That way, I will look like I was a guy who was on to something, rather than just some fancy suck-up.

But I'm going off on a tangent. The class was such an excellent class for, more than anything else, learning. In fact, Prof. Muller told our class that he hoped we never stopped trying to learn. And I tried to spread the knowledge to others. In those letters I would send home every two weeks, I almost always seemed to encourage my friends and family to watch the webcasts of the class, and to read the free, online textbook. There are webcasts still available (and I still recommend them), but the book has, unfortunately, been published and priced. Luckily, though, I still have the last available online copy of the book on my hard drive. And, lucky for you, I am going to provide them (which is perfectly legal, Internet censors). So, here you are, Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. Even if you don't read them now, download them to read at a later time. I know it sounds odd that I'm giving you a textbook to read, but it's so damned interesting. Also, be sure to read Prof. Muller's book. It's not only fascinating, it's an easy read, especially if you don't know science.

The point is, I love learning, and I love other people learning. I in truth take no offense to being called a philomath; I just wish more people were like that. There's so much to the world. Why not try to learn about it?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Story of Janus...

A few things that made me happy today:
1. I found out that I got an A- and two A's in my letter-graded classes (and a Pass in the Blog DeCal), so that can only make my cumulative GPA go up from its current 3.675 standing.
2. I accidentally forgot my ATM card in an ATM, but when I found out and went back to the bank, I learned that the machine will suck it back in if its not taken, and as it turned out, they were just then checking the machines. I was able to get the card back then and there.
3. After stepping out of a card game with some residents (both my own and someone else's), I overheard one of the girls (not mine) saying to one of the guys (mine), "You're RA is so much cooler than mine." Although I'm not in competition with my co-workers, I couldn't help but smile.

Yeah, these residents are so much better than my old ones. I can say, without hyperbole, that in the last few days, I've had more residents attend things (programs, group dinners, etc.) than in the entire academic year (and that includes my suite mates, who never even went to dinner). I feel spoiled (and, truth be told, am; everyone knows this is nothing like being an academic year RA).

While at one of the group dinners, I found myself talking about one of the more...interesting chapters in my online history. I'm planning on writing one day about my various online personas, but I feel that this merits it's own post, seeing as its so...interesting.

Years ago (in 2000 or 2001, to be more specific), there was a subset of the WB network called Kids WB! I've been told that this still exists, but with its currently uninspired helping of television dribble, it may as well be dead to me. The point is, back in 2000 or 2001, the website for Kids WB! had its own forum. Now, forums back in the "ol' days" weren't as sophisticated as they are nowadays. There were no divisions and subdivisions; it was just a single page listing the hundreds of topics. And these forums had a pretty lousy moderation system. There was one character named Joe Pants or something like that. His topics looked like this:

"Oooooo, Joe Pants is sooooo sexy." -Anonymous
"I want to do Joe Pants." -Anonymous

Keep in mind, the primary demographic of this site was pre-teens. There were lots of these topics though, and it didn't seem like anyone was doing anything about them. I think stuff like this was one of the two primary reasons for the downfall of the Kids WB! forums, less than two months after its inception.

The other reason, I'm almost sure, was me.

I'll let that sink in for a second. You see, I'm pretty sure my actions on these forums helped deteriorate its quality. Ironically, my intention was exactly the opposite. Huh? Gather round, my children, and I shall tell you a tale!

Now, in addition to the semi-profane topics, and amongst the hundreds of others, I found plenty that went like this:


Yep, classic examples of flaming. If I'm not mistaken, the "Pokemon" TV show was the most popular target, but every show had at least a few topics targeting it. It was a waste of space, plus it was genuinely mean. There were kids on the site, and some seemed to actually be hurt by what was said.

Something had to be done. Someone had to act. I had to act.

I immediately formed one of my earliest online pseudonyms: Janus, after the two-headed Roman god. (Get it? Two-headed...pseudonyms...aw, forget it!) I then went on and typed up an extremely eloquent post (at least, eloquent for a 12-or-13-year-old) saying, in a nutshell who I was, condemning the actions of hateful flaming based on show preferences, and encouraging those who agreed with me to join the (narcissistically named) "Janus Club."

And what can I say? It was a hit. Within a few days, I got dozens of emails requesting to join the Janus club, and asking what membership entailed. I gave them two objectives:
1. Stop topics that flamed people based on their TV Show preferences.
2. Encoruage others to join the club.

And people latched on. I guess they needed something to believe in during those early days of mass internet usage. I distinctly remember seeing a topic on the forums which asked "How can I join the Janus Club?" having over a dozen responses. At that point, I knew I had made it. There were a few complications, of course. Children, being utterly stupid, thought that the name "Janus" was equivalent to "Janice" and so many people thought I was a girl until I straightened them out. Overall, though, things began well.

But, in the classic totalitarian style, things changed, except the groups idealism. But, as they say, "The path to Hell is paved with good intentions."

To put it bluntly, the Janus club became incredibly corrupt. We were built to stop flaming, but it turned out that flaming became the group's primary tool. Whenever there was a topic that even remotely said anything negative (even if it was "I didn't like this week's episode of [Insert Show Here]"), it would be replied to with at least 20 all-caps messages that basically boiled down to saying "SHUT UP! YOUR STOOPID!" And ended with the ubiquitous phrase:

"All hail Janus! Join the Janus Club!"

Yes, what they were doing was wrong, but my ego was so bloated that I didn't care. I loved seeing that a good chunk of the topics on the forum were either directly or indirectly related to me. Joe Pants be damned, I owned that forum!

And then, one day, it just...disappeared.

The whole forum, gone. The link to it, gone. Any mention of it, gone. My fame, my power...gone.

At the time, I could fathom why they would take it down. The Kids WB! community was so active; it was a great part of the website. And I was such a juggernaut on there. It took me a few years to really think things through, but I soon realized that, maybe, I was the reason it was shut down (one of them, at least). As I said, a good chunk of the topics were either about me directly (on both sides of the opinion) or had my club members flaming away. It was a war zone. In trying to stop a firefight, I had begun a nuclear war. Funny when you think about it.

Kids WB! hasn't brought back a forum on their site...ever. That short experiment was over and done with, and I think they learned their lesson. I have also never used the name "Janus" for any other purpose. Originally, it was because too many people thought I was a girl, but since then, I think its more out of respect...respect for the name I had in which I essentially became a corrupt cult leader.

So, that's the story behind that. Will something like that ever happen again? Only time will tell, children. Only time will tell...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Didn't God Say the Weekend was for Relaxing?!?



Hello, everybody. Pardon me if I sound a bit less than coherent in the following sentences. The last three days have been, in a word, hellish. (Well, four days, but most of this was written on Monday.) My hands are cut and paper-cut, my fingernails are cracked, I have random bruises over my body, my toenails are purple from the bruises in my toes, and my clothes have been covered in sweat and a little blood.

But I'm finally done moving.

On Friday, I was basically packing up everything I had. There's a saying that goes "You never know how much you have until you move." (If there's no saying like that, there is now.) In addition to simply packing up stuff, I had to decide what I was going to throw away. For some reason, I still had all my notes and junk from the past two years. I think I had kept them to sort through them some free day, and just forgot. Well, that day wasn't free, but it was as good as any (better, even). So I threw away recycled an entire garbage bag of paper. Then I had to pack up all the rest of my things, including my TV, my computer, my printer, my surround sound system, my book, my clothes...my room was an absolute mess. More than once, I simply spun around and ran my head through my hair in frustration.

Pretty much, I spent all Friday packing, from 10am - 2am. And I had to get up at 7am for the closing day at CKC. And I couldn't sleep. So I was groggy when I got up. Now, there were two main types of room condition reports I filled out. One was for the residents who were very curteous and cleaned up everything, spic and span. The other was...well, everyone else.

(Oh, a quick aside: one of my room checks was very profitable. In fact, it was my suite mate's. I was pretty upset because he had let a bunch of stuff in the suite that I had to clean up in order not to get charged. Anyhoo, I was looking in his closet, and I notice that there's something in the far corner of the high shelf. So I stand up on a chair to take a look. "Oh!" I exclaim, "It's a dollar bill.......wait, it's not a dollar bill...it's a hundred dollar bill....nice." And no, I'm not going to return it, for two reasons: 1. Any items left behind after move-out time are legally considered property of the State of California or an employee thereof (i.e. me). Him even attempted to get it back would be considered theft against the state government. 2. He made me clean up the place! Plus, I was a good suite mate. This is my payment! Unfortunately, that was the only hard cash I made.)

I think the worst room was my next-door neighbors, the Crew guys. (And I won't even get started on my opinions on Crew [the team whose members would steal my sensitive RA notebook and physically attack my female coworkers].) It took me an hour to write down all damages and other stuff. It was like a very localized hurricane had passed through. There were holes in the wall (they were punched through earlier in the year so that they could "find the electrical wires"), a completely ruined, beer-soaked carpet, a smashed toilet, broken closet doors, trash everywhere, a funny smell, a cabinet full of about 5 gallons of assorted alcohol, and stolen street signs, which is a felony to have! I took pictures of a lot of the stuff just so I didn't have to write down everything (plus, it's photographic proof of their illegal shenanigans). Personally, I hope they get fined to the poorhouse...or expelled...or locked away, really. It would be a benefit to society were they to simply disappear.

So I later had a meeting for my summer staffing position, which lasted a couple hours. Basically, the meeting told us, "You have to move in tonight...but you also have to have this, this, and this done before tomorrow."

So, I went back to my room. Thankfully, I still had my laptop, and was able to make what I was in charge of. Unfortunately, I had no printer. Blah. I then waited until 10pm before I could start(!) moving. This is because I had told one of my coworkers (who was also doing summer sessions) that we could help each other move. Thing was, he needed a van to move, which wasn't available until that time.

Keep in mind, just because I started moving at 10pm doesn't mean I finished by, say, midnight. No, sir (or madam), I first had to take his first load down, then we did my stuff, then we came back and did his second load. I won't bore you with all the details, but we finished at 4am! I congratulated my coworker, telling him that he was seeing me as close as I would ever come to being drunk. I was lightheaded, dizzy, tired, and basically wanted to die.

As it turned out, I didn't die, but I did fall asleep as soon as I hit the bed (amidst a bunch of still-packed boxes and bags). I had to get up the next morning, however, because now everyone else was moving in. So I spent basically from noon to 8pm helping people in, answering questions, meeting and greeting, etc. I then had to have a floor meeting, and try to get people together for every little thing.

So far, I think things are going well. My residents for the summer are much more active than my academic year residents. In fact, I would guess that, in two days, I've had more residents participate in programs than in the whole of my academic year (no hyperbole there, folks). They seem really nice, too, and they seem to like me.

It's also really interesting in that the majority of summer students are international students, from Asia and Europe primarily. I in particular have a lot of Germans and Finns, with a few Chinese and Koreans, a smidgen of Indians, and some domestic students. They seem to be coexisting rather well.

One tricky thing is that I'm being asked a lot of questions about things I know nothing about; namely, policies concerning international students. Not being one myself, I'm not sure how much I can help. I think people just need some time to settle down.

Oh, did I mention that I also had to rearrange my room? Yeah, even though I'm in a room by myself, it's a double. (I can't use the normal RA room, because it will be in use during fall training.) So, there was a bed on one side, a bed on the other side, and two desks in the middle, almost completely separating the two. Very inefficient for only one person. So, I did what many people did: I moved the two beds together on one side, and then put the desks in a corner on the other side. This should have been easy, except that, as mentioned, I had a bunch of my junk in boxes everywhere. So, I could only move a desk or bed a few inches or degrees before I had to rearrange about 4 different bags or boxes. It was a long, slow, tedious process, but it's done now, and the room looks somewhat livable (despite the fact I haven't put sheets on the bed yet). Here's some pictures:

So that's that. Oh, I'm also on the eight floor. So I have a view. I'll get to that later. After that mess of a weekend, things should look much easier (and more fun). If anyone's interested in mailing me, here is my new address:

2650 Haste St.
Berkeley, CA 94720

So that's all for me right now. I don't have to move for another three months, which is good (some people have two move again in a couple weeks). Talk to y'all later!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Some Videos To Sate Your Appetite

I don't have much time to write...at all; lots of packing to do today, and I woke up late. However, in case you were wondering, this was my inspiration for my "Zinc" play.

Ironically, the short movie that this is based upon is actually more absurd than this. Rather than being a world without zinc, it's a world without...springs? Here it is (MST3K-ified for your sanity). I personally find this one of the funniest pieces of tripe I've ever seen.

Now I must leave you for a while. This is the last time in the foreseeable future that I will be writing from Clark Kerr. immediately after this, I am packing up my computer in preparation of moving. When you hear from me next, I shall be at Unit 2. I'm sure you can expect a full reflection on this later. Wish me luck on a quick and easy move!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Zinc: A Play in Three Acts

Act I

The dinner table.
Mom: "Charlie? You're not going to the movies this weekend?"
Charlie: "No, I think I'm going to stay home."
Mom: "Oh, then what are you planning to do with your allowance money?"
Dad: "Planning on saving it, Sport?"
Charlie: "No, I was thinking of investing it."
Dad: "Well, look at that! My son, the entrepreneur!"
Mom: "What were you thinking in investing in, Charlie?"
Charlie: "I was thinking of investing in zinc."
Dad: "WHAT?!"
Mom: "Joseph, please."
Dad: "No son of mine is going to invest in zinc!"
Charlie: "Dad, all the kids at school have zinc. Everyone's getting it. I think it may be a hot commodity."
Dad: "I don't care if it's a hot tamale! We are not a zinc family! Look at this fork! Do you know what it's made out of?"
Charlie: "No?"
Dad: "It's not made out of zinc, I can tell you that! And I'll be damned before I let zinc into my home!"
Mom: "Joseph, try to calm your voice. The neighbors may hear."
Dad: "Let them hear! Charles, as long as you are living under my roof, you are forbidden from having anything to do with zinc!"
Charlie: "...Maybe I don't wanna live under your roof anymore! I hate you, Dad! You never understand!"
Mom: "Charlie!"
Charlie runs upstairs.

Act II

The playground.
Sam: "Hey, Mark, I heard you got some new zinc."
Mark: "Yeah! Check it out!"
Sam: "Wow, that's the nicest zinc I've ever seen."
Betty: "Mark, would you like to go to the ice cream shop after school? I'll show you some zinc I just bought."
Mark: "Sure!"
Sam: "Oh, here comes Charlie."
Mark: "Hey, Charlie!"
Charlie: "Hi, guys! What're you doing?"
Mark: "We're talking about zinc!"
Charlie: "Oh..."
Sam: "You got some zinc for yourself, right, Charlie?"
Charlie: "What? Oh, yeah! Of course. I just left it at home is all."
Sam: "Tough break, man. I wanna see what zinc you got. Look at mine."
Charlie: "Wow, that's nice zinc. Can I touch it?"
Sam: "Nuh-uh! You can go touch your own zinc."
Mark: "Yeah, and be sure to bring it tomorrow."
Charlie: "Yeah, I'll do that...See you guys later..."
Charlie leaves.


The living room.
Mom: "Oh, someone's coming in."
Dad: "Whose that at the door?"
Charlie: "Who else would it be?"
Dad: "Hey there, Sport! Wanna see a neat magic trick?"
Charlie: "No, thanks, Dad. I have lots of homework. I should get to that."
Dad: "Well, look at that! My son, the scholar! ....Wait, what's that jingling? Stop right there, Charles!"
Charlie: "Dad?"
Dad: "Empty your pockets, Charles!"
Charlie: "Dad, I-"
Mom: "Joseph, you-"
Dad: "Empty! Your! Pockets!"
Charlie hesitates, his eyes watering. He empties his pockets. Several pieces of zinc fall to the ground.
Dad: "I knew it!"
Mom: "Oh, Charlie..."
Dad: "What did I tell you? Huh? What did I tell you about zinc?"
Charlie: "It's not...it's not-"
Dad: "It's not what? It's not yours? So you're not only bringing zinc into my house, but you're stealing it?"
Charlie: "No, I-"
Dad: "You're going to learn your place, Charles. First, you're no longer getting an allowance, if you're just going to use it to buy zinc."
Charlie: "...Dad..."
Dad: "Dad, nothing! Now go to your room! No, wait, you probably have zinc in there. Go to the attic, and don't come out until I say so!"
Charlie: "...I hate you, Dad! I hate you! I hope you die!"
Dad: "And when I do, I suppose you'll bury me in a zinc coffin!"
Charlie runs, weeping, upstairs. Mom picks up one of the pieces of zinc.
Dad: "God...damn. Where does he get this from? It's those kids at school. Bad influences, all of them!"
Mom: "Honey..."
Dad: "I try to raise a respectable son, and it all gets thrown back in my-"
Mom: "Joseph!"
Dad: "What?"
Mom: "This zinc that Charlie had. It isn't his. It's...mine."
Dad: "What?!"
Mom: "I don't know how he got it - he must have been looking through my things - but this is definitely the zinc I bought when I was a teenager."
Dad: "Teenager? You mean you had this when we met? Why didn't you tell me?"
Mom: "I don't know, I, I didn't want to upset you."
Dad: "Didn't want to upset me, huh? So you keep it for 20 years so that our son can find it?"
Mom: "Joseph, I-"
Dad: "No. Get out. I'm not even going to look at you. I don't think I'll ever be able to look at you without seeing zinc. Go, just...just go."
Mom: "Oh, Joseph..."
Mom leaves, weeping. Dad looks at the zinc in his hand.
Dad: "Congratulations, zinc. You've destroyed my family, and you've ruined my life!!!"
Dad throws the zinc to the ground and falls to his knees, weeping.


Some Pictures and Quick Thoughts to Kill Time...

What happens when you have way too many meal points at semester's end? This:
Seriously, I was in the Golden Bear Café this past Sunday (after the graduation ceremony of one of my best friends at Cal...*sniff*...), looked down and saw a box of Nerds. "Ooh!" I exclaimed as I picked up the entire box and carried it to the register.


The world looks mighty good to me, 'cause Tootsie Rolls are all I see!
My Boss: "Does anyone any candy out of this big bag?"
Me: "We're not saving it for a later program?"
My Boss: "No, I think we should probably just get a new bag for something like that."
Me: "I'll take a look and see if there's anything I like...ooh, there's a Tootsie Roll!"
Coworker: "Andrew, are you just fishing out all the Tootsie Rolls?"
Me: "'Fishing' is such an ugly word. Let's just say I'm 'extracting' the delicious candies from this bag."
Me: "Okay, here you go."
Coworker: "Are there any Tootsie Rolls left in here?"
Me: "I doubt it."
Coworker: "Can I have a Tootsie Roll?"
Me: "......Yes."


You can always tell the mark of a true watch-wearer.
Okay, I'll admit that it was particularly pronounced then, as I had just spent two hours standing outside in the sun for a carnival (and don't worry, it eased into a lovely bronze; I don't burn easily.)


Elise (An RA at another unit): "Hey, Andrew! What are you doing at Unit 1?"
Me: "Just passing through. It's a shortcut to CKC."
Elise: "Well, while you're here, do you want to do some tie-dying?"
Me: "No, thanks. I don't support hippie activities."
Elise: "Hippie? Tie-dying isn't exclusive to hippies."
Me: "Yeah, tell that to everyone on Telegraph Avenue."
Elise: "Well, it's in blue and gold; school colors! Plus, we're taking donations to help out homeless mothers. It's a good cause. Please, Andrew?" *Puppy-dog eyes.*
Me: "...Alright." *Gives donations, takes t-shirt, wraps it in rubber bands.*
Elise: "Wow, for someone who doesn't support 'hippie activities', you're sure getting into this."
Me: *Grumble, grumble.*
Elise: "Okay, now you unwrap it and...there! What do you think, Andrew?"

Me: ".....It looks like a rainbow vomited."


Does anyone else's thumb go back when fully extended?
Seriously, I just noticed this, and it's bothering the hell out of me. I mean, that upper digits going back at like a 45-degree angle? I haven't really looked at anybody's thumb closely enough, so I'm asking all of you to give yourself a thumbs-up, with your thumb fully extended. Is it strait, or does it lean back? I guess what I'm asking is...am I a freak (at least as far as thumbs go)?


This is what my room is supposed to look like:
This is what it currently looks like:

I'll probably say more about the (former) trappings later, but right now, all my posters and stuff are taken down. I've noticed that in the day and a half since, I have felt noticeably downtrodden. The room, it's just so big and...desolate. Amazing what posters can do (especially when you have lots of blank white walls).

Okay, that's enough for today. I gots myself a final tomorrow, and I'm doing a lot of reading for it, even though it'll probably take less time to complete than I took to write this entry.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Hats Off to You!

I mentioned the other day that I bought myself a new hat. This was much easier said than done. You see, my head, she's large. Very large. I measured it, and the circumference of my head is 25 1/4 inches. To give you an idea of how that stacks up with the rest of the crowd, the average head size for a human male is 58 cm, or 22.83" my head is nearly two-and-a-half inches larger than that. In fact, some guy says that "Probably the largest head size you will ever find, will be 64cms," while my head is 64.13 cm. I guess I owe this to my German heritage, because apparently that's where all the big heads come from.

Anyhoo, finding a hat that fits is very difficult. I looked online for a bunch of hats, but the majority are too small for someone like me. And the ones that do say XXL or XXXL are all sombreros or some such nonsense. Well, there were a few that looked interesting, but buying a hat is a delicate procedure. I don't think getting one online would be the optimal decision.

Postman: "Son, your hat from the Internet has arrived."
Me: "Golly! Thanks, sir!"
Postman: "Just doing me job!"
Me: "Hey, wait a minute, this hat doesn't look good on me."
Postman: "Hahahahahahahaaaaa!!!!" *Drives off, running down schoolchildren along the way.*

In order to avoid such a scenario, I went to the Berkeley Hat Company, the largest and most boringly-named hat store in California. When I went in, one of the service people placed a "fitter" hat on me. It basically rested on my head like a yarmulke. When she realized the immensity of my head, she looked like she was going to call the cops or something (which I actually think would make for a good skit).

Once they found some hats that did fit, I was basically left to my own devices for an hour and a half. While was originally looking through the whole place, I quickly gravitated toward the outdoorsy Outback hats. And after putting them on and taking them off again and again...and again, I finally purchased my new hat.

That's real kangaroo leather there. Very soft, very light, and very cool. Since purchasing this hat, it has already proven its value, having protected my face from Berkeley's blistering pre-summer sun (we almost got into the triple digits last week). It's also fully crushable, for easy storage.

As you can tell, the hat also has a lot of character to it. Well, you see, beginning this summer, I'm going to try a new look. Not a new personality, per se, just a different way of dressing, for a little variety. Stage one was buying the hat. Stage two is buying a leather jacket. Unfortunately, most leather jackets on sale are absurdly expensive, and eityher look like your homosexual, a biker, or a homosexual biker. That's not the look I'm going for, so I went to our good old friend eBay.

There ended up being two jackets I was looking at. One was what I really, really wanted, and the other was my backup (which unfortunately, ended earlier than the other one). To my dismay, the jacket that I really thought would work great ended up jumping in price to a point where, with shipping, it would cost me near to $100. So, I had to go with my second choice, for a much cheaper price.

So, I'll be wearing that second jacket with my hat. We'll see how it all works out.

Oh! I've thought of an idea for a show or something which features a guy named Sam who owns a hat like mine, except that it has magic powers? What can it do? What can't it do?!

Wife: "Oh, this kitchen is a mess! And all these dishes are dirty!"
Sam: "I'll wash the dishes...with my hat!"
*Sam points the hat at the dishes, and they instantly become clean.*

Security Guard: "Help! The bank's being robbed!"
Sam: "I'll stop him...with my hat!"
*Sam throws the hat at the robber, who is devoured by the hat.*

Crowd: "How can we ever thank you, Sam?"
Sam: "Oh, don't thank me...thank my hat!"
Guy with Old-Timey Radio Voice: "That hat's a true American hero!"
Some Fat Guy: "Three cheers for the hat!"
*A parade is held for the hat.*

Oh, yeah, and my hat's a lucky hat. Why? 'Cause I decided it would be.

Have a hatty day!

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Well, I was right. My nephew, little Sesimani (though I may still call him Lucius, my first choice [named after Lucius Verus, co-emporer of Rome with Marcus Aurelius]) was born on May 12, 2007 at 4:56am (he's an early bird, apparently). He was 7lbs, 8oz, and 19.5 inches long. Here's some pictures of the little tyke.
Ironically, today's Mother's Day, so my sister made it just in time.

God Bless all the mothers in the world, and all they do for our sake. :)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Supply & Demands & Nephew &...What?

I got back from my Econ final at about 8:30pm tonight. I think I did fine on the test; it wasn't as difficult as it was intensive. 1/3 of the test (which equated to about 15% of our final grade) was a single essay, and it was meaty. Here, take a look. Yeah, that by itself took 4 very dense pages. And for someone who likes writing so much, my hands aren't cut out for it; my fingers sounded like a cement mixer by the end of it all.

But that's over and done with. All that's left is a 45-question multiple-choice test for my IDS 110 class (the one I made the website for). Much easier on my poor widdle hand.

Well, goodnight.

...Wait, no! I kind of got off on a tangent there. Like I was saying, I got back from my Econ final at about 8:30pm tonight. Not but a few minutes after I had put down my backpack and taken off my pants (don't worry, I replaced them with shorts), I got a phone call from my mom. Apparently, my sister's water broke and she's now in the hospital. So, quite possibly before you read this, I'll be an uncle. And no, I mean it this time! I may not have a ding-dong-damn idea about anything relating to childbirth, but unless my family is pulling a very late April Fool's Day joke on me, I think its for real.

I don't know when it will happen, though. See, my Dad called me a little later.
Dad: "So the dilation is going slowly."
Me: "Uh-huh." (I understand that much, at least.)
Dad: "In the last couple hours, it's only increased from 2cm to 3cm."
Me: "Yeah, those numbers are meaningless to me."
Dad: "The point is, it may be awhile."
Me: "Gotcha."

Still, I can say with some certainty that my...nephew's...birthday will be May 12th.

Nephew. That still sounds weird. I still have a hard time thinking of myself as an uncle. I can see myself as many things. Hero, madman, philanthropist, villain, lover, but uncle? That's an odd one.

And I honestly wonder what kind of uncle I'll be (looking 12, 15 years down the line, that is).

-Will I be the football-toting uncle, the one that says to my nephew "Hey, there, Sport, wanna play a little pickle?" The kind that the kid loves to be with when they're younger, but soon realizes that they're a drunkard trying to work off their probation.

-Will I be the rich uncle, the one that gives him the dune buggy on his 14th birthday, while everyone else gives him a pair of slacks that "looks sharp"? The kind the kid loves, but everyone else hates.

-Will I be the bad-influence uncle, the kind that his parents say, "If you're Uncle Andrew ever calls, don't say anything; just hang up"?

-Will I be considered a racially-demeaning stereotype?

-Will I be the really sketchy uncle that you never see, but only hear about, and the times you do hear about him, he's either involved on the wrong end of some financial scam or is claiming to disown his family? (Oh, they do exist...trust me.)

-Will I be the lovable uncle that everyone likes to poke fun at?

-Will I be the cool uncle? The one that the kid wants to spend a weekend a month or so with? The one that will take him to movies and museums? The one that will play video games with him (or whatever games they play in the future)?

Who knows?


...Who knows?

I guess we'll see when the time comes. For now, we'll just worry about getting that kid out of my sister. More info (and maybe pictures) when it comes. Toodles.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Finals-Time Cop-Out: A Skit!

I've taken a quick break from studying for my Economics final to tell you that...I'm studying for my economics final. So, you'll probably want to wait until Friday night (the final ends at 8pm) for anything. In the meantime, please enjoy this short skit (one of many perhaps later being filmed for YouTube stardom) involving one of my online alter egos, THE_BOLSHEVIK. Just so you know, "THE_BOLSHEVIK" is basically a caricature of myself (that is, his quirks are more extreme versions of my own), but a lot more neurotic (usually, his character often changes to fit into a joke). The name doesn't have anything to do with political affiliations; it's just a name. "Kris" is a generic term meaning "friend or former roommate," most likely portrayed by my friend and former roommate, Kris. "Sandra" isn't based on anyone I know; I'm just bad at thinking up female names. Wish me luck on my final, and enjoy!

Setup to scene: THE_BOLSHEVIK was told by Kris that Sandra, an attractive female who has expressed interest in him, has a foot fetish that gets her really turned on.

Sandra: “Well, THE_BOLSHEVIK, my parents are gone for the weekend, we’re all alone in my bedroom…what do you wanna do?”

THE_BOLSHEVIK: “Well, I, I was thinking I could play ‘This Little Piggy’ on your toes…the, the toes that are on your feet.”

Sandra: “Oh, that sounds so arousing.”

THE_BOLSHEVIK: “Yes, I…I figured it would.”

Sandra: “(Singsong.) Well, don’t keep me wai-ting!”

She lifts foot toward THE_BOLSHEVIK. THE_BOLSHEVIK grabs her big toe and begins counting, smiling nervously.

THE_BOLSHEVIK: “This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed home.
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had…athlete’s foot. I’ll be right back.”

THE_BOLSHEVIK lets go of her foot and walks out. Cut to scene of THE_BOLSHEVIK washing his hands in a bathroom. His phone rings. He answers.


Kris: “Hey, THE_BOLSHEVIK! It’s Kris.”

THE_BOLSHEVIK: “Oh. Hey, Kris.”

Kris: “Sooo, how’s it going?”

THE_BOLSHEVIK: “You obviously know it’s not going, because if it were going, you’d have enough courtesy not to call and interrupt.”

Kris: “That’s true. What’s the problem?”

THE_BOLSHEVIK: “Well, you said she has a foot fetish, and that’s all fine and good by itself. However, she also has a foot fungus.”

Kris: “What?”

THE_BOLSHEVIK: “A foot fungus, a fungus on her foot, which is eating the flesh of her foot. That’s…that’s not really a turn-on.”

Kris: “Really? That’s not a turn-on for you?”

THE_BOLSHEVIK: “What? No! Why, do you get turned on by fungal infections?”

Kris: “…No, that actually sounds pretty disgusting. So, what are you going to do?”

THE_BOLSHEVIK: “What am I gonna do? What can I do? I can’t continue in a relationship with a chick who has a fetish about a part of her body which is infected!”

Kris: “Well you could always buy her something. Y’know, like tough-actin’ Tanactin. That’s endorsed by John Madden.”

THE_BOLSHEVIK: “I am not buying her foot cream!”

Kris: “It shows you care. That’s pretty romantic.”

THE_BOLSHEVIK: “No, that’s not romantic! It’s the opposite of romantic. I’m not going to a restaurant and saying during desert, ‘Oh, Sandra, I have these gifts of foot cream and ear medicine for you.’”

Kris: “Does she need ear medicine?”

THE_BOLSHEVIK: “No! I don’t know! Oh, God, I hope not!”

Kris: “Maybe you should probably go back to her right now. It usually doesn’t take this long to wash your hands.”

THE_BOLSHEVIK: “I, I…guess.”

THE_BOLSHEVIK hangs up the phone and walks back in. Sandra is sitting on the bed, looking sultry.

Sandra: “Hey there, big boy! Want to get back to these?” (Lifts foot toward THE_BOLSHEVIK.)

THE_BOLSHEVIK: (Shudders slightly.) “Actually, Sandra, I was thinking we could play a different…a different game.”

Sandra: “Oh, you wanna play footsie?”

THE_BOLSHEVIK: “No! I mean, no. I mean, how about playing………Mario Party?”

Sandra: “Mario Party? That doesn’t sound very arousing.”

THE_BOLSHEVIK: “Oh, but it…but it is. All that…hot…Italian…I…I’m not going to even try to finish that thought.”

Sandra: “Well, it’s too bad for you anyway, because I don’t have that game.”

THE_BOLSHEVIK: “Want me to go get it? I can go get it from my place! I’ll go get it from my place!”

Sandra: “Oh no you don’t!” (Lightly grabs THE_BOLSHEVIK’s side’s with her feet.)

THE_BOLSHEVIK: “Uhuhuhuh…You know, actually, what’s really…a, arousing for me? Socks.”

Sandra: “…It’s my feet, isn’t it?”


Sandra: “(Sadly.) You can’t stand the fact that I have athlete’s foot.”

THE_BOLSHEVIK: “I…wait, what do you mean? It’s a parasitic fungus. It’s bad for you.”

Sandra: “But I love the idea that I’m harboring life on my body. That’s so…arousing!” (She playfully runs her fingers through her toes.)

THE_BOLSHEVIK: “Oh, Lord…Sandra, I don’t think this relationship is going to work. It’s really quite…well, it’s not arousing, I can tell you that.”

Sandra: “…You jerk! And to think, I was going to let you sleep with me and my feet!”

THE_BOLSHEVIK: “Um…yeah, you…you were, weren’t you? Huh, funny how…things change, I guess.”

Sandra: “I want you out of my house.”

THE_BOLSHEVIK: “Yeah, I guess I’ll just be going now.”

THE_BOLSHEVIK slowly and quietly walks out of the room. Before leaving completely, however, he pops his head back in.

THE_BOLSHEVIK: “By the way, I took a quick glance, and, um, you may want to get you ears checked out.”

Sandra: “…”

THE_BOLSHEVIK: “Okay, I’ll go.”

THE_BOLSHEVIK pops his head back out of the room.

End scene.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Philosophical Ramblings (Or, Why I Love Pleasure and Hate Nihilism)

So I said that I took a Philosophy quiz/questionnaire the other day, and I'd like to share it. I really think it says something about me:

You scored as Hedonism. Your life is guided by the principles of
Hedonism: You believe that pleasure is a great, or the greatest,
good; and you try to enjoy life’s pleasures as much as you can.

“Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!”

More info at Arocoun's Wikipedia User Page...









Justice (Fairness)


Divine Command




Strong Egoism




What philosophy do you follow? (v1.03)
created with QuizFarm.com

There are some very interesting results on that chart. Let's take a look at each one (at least, my best understanding of each).

Hedonism - Hedonism, as you read above, the the belief that our primary goal in life is (or should be) pleasure. Truth be told, I think this hits the nail smack dab on the head for me. I think everyone in the world has both the right and the ability to be happy. And I don't necessarily think the pleasure need come from physical or worldly things. I think intellectual or emotional pleasure is incredibly powerful. Basically, I feel that God wants us to be happy (think about it: happiness is a greater - and more powerful - feeling than sadness, so why would the greatest being in existence not want it for us?). Now, this doesn't mean I just want myself to be happy. No, that brings us to my second-highest philosophy.

Utilitarianism - Utilitarianism is pretty easy to comprehend: the greatest good for the greatest number of people. This, too, is something I'm pretty sure I believe in and practice. Heck, even some of my earlier posts have utilitarian influences. I don't know how to explain why I support this philosophy without just repeating what it is. Yes, there are some quandaries that could arise (if given the choice, would it be better to save a small town from blowing up, or save the life of a man who's on the verge of finding the cure for cancer? Hmm...), but overall, it seems to be pretty solid...in my humble opinion.

Existentialism - Exitentialism is the belief that humans have complete control over their lives/meanings/purposes/etc. Basically, you're responsible for yourself and your place in this world. 'Tain't a bad philosophy at all. I don't agree with it 100% (in fact, I obviously only agree with it 60%), but it seems good in that it says that people have the ability to make something out of their lives.

Kantianism - Kantianism basically means that you have some underlying goal or principle in your life, and you hope to have all your actions directed by this and based upon reason. Personally, this seems like a pretty nebulous idea for a philosophy. I guess I do let reason guide me sometimes, but other times I just don't seem to make sense. Sometimes, it seems as though I'm anything but consistent.

Justice (Fairness) - I was going to say that everyone knows what justice is, but really, does anyone know what justice is? Is it "an eye for an eye" (definitely retributive justice) or does it have more Utilitarian layers? Is it equality? (On that last question, I would definitely say "no".) The maker of the quiz says that it has to do with being rewarded or punished based on the good or harm you do. This definitely sounds good, but then there's always Ghandi's words: "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind." And there's always the ability to transcend justice and gain real power...

Divine Command - This is what it sounds like: you god and your religion dictate your actions. When I did a report about Spirituality in my RA Training over a year ago, I included this quote:
“People always wonder what the ‘one true faith’ is. Well, the way I see it, the one true faith is the human faith. It is the belief that all people have dignity and are worthy of love and care. This faith is split up into many little pieces – we call these religions. They help personalize the faith, they specially tailor it for each person. In the end, though, we need to see that they’re all pointing in the same direction. Only then can we move in that right direction.”
I said that the source was unknown, but that's just my codeword for "Andrew Schnorr". Basically, I think religion is a beneficial thing, but not if people follow blindly. When humans are involved in anything, the possibility for human error is always there, and that sometimes is the case for religion as well.

Apathy - Meh.

Strong Egoism - For someone as Narcissistic as myself, one might be surprised how low this got rated. However, I think that when it really comes down to it, I care about the happiness of others. And really, egoism ain't that great of a philosophy. If everyone followed it, we wouldn't have lasted very long as a civilization.

Nihilism - Okay, before I continue, let me just say that Nihilism is complete and total BS. This probably reflects in the fact that I scored as low on it as you can in one of these quizzes. Basically, Nihilism says that there is no god, no morals, no truths, no point to the world. That nothing you do makes a difference. That life and everything in it is meaningless. Personally, I find that to be the worst possible attitude you could ever have. I mean, why would you think like that? And how the hell are any of these people still alive? It seems like its the perfect suicidal philosophy. It's a completely worthless idea, in my opinion. It brings nothing good to the table of life. Bah!

So, now that we've laid all that on the table, let me make a final small analysis. Basically, my overriding philosophy is hedonism with a splash of utilitarianism. How does this fit into my life? Well, I consider myself an entertainer of sorts. (You may have even found yourself entertained while reading some of my blog...maybe.) I find that in almost every conversation I have, I try to find a way to make others laugh...multiple times. After all, laughing is a pleasure. It makes people happy. And isn't it a great thing to make a bunch of people happier? In turn, bringing pleasure to others gives me more pleasure. And if everyone's happier, isn't that the greatest good we can hope for? I think so. So, I think this quiz has my number down.

...Wow, that's a lot of analysis for one little quiz. The creator should be proud. But what about the rest of you? I'd like to hear your thoughts on my analysis of my own philosophical beliefs, and I'd like to see what you score. Take the quiz; it shouldn't take more than ten minutes. I'm interested in hearing your results (hopefully the comments section can manage those fancy little graphs).

Until next time, smile! ^_^

Monday, May 7, 2007

Getting Back on Track...

Hi, everyone! Very sorry about not being here over the last...jeeze, it's been nearly a week (five days, to be precise). Completing that paper took me longer than expected. It thoughtfully thrashed my keister and stole hours upon hours of my sleep. I think the main problem was that I was never in "The Zone," and so I was becoming easily distracted. Basically, the process was like, write a sentence, read a half-dozen Penny Arcade comics, write another sentence, Photoshop a picture, put in a quote and cite it, read some more Penny Arcade. And so on and so forth. And I knew it was going to be a mess, because I was bouncing from paragraph to paragraph, constructing the thing like a shoddy Lego castle. I was constantly reminding myself how bad it was. Then I was reminding myself how I said the exact same thing about the last two papers, both of which received an A.

Well, that's over and done with (and it actually ain't half bad), so now my writing priorities are back to normal. I still have finals, but they won't interfere like this monstrosity did.

So, while I was on my leave of absence, the following interesting:

-I bought myself a new hat! I'll definitely talk about this more in the future, but in the meantime, enjoy this Photoshopped picture of me wearing it!

-I became pseudonymously famous online. On the official website for Magic: The Gathering (the world's largest trading card game), I had seen that the Q&A section, which usually only features questions that are mailed in, answered a question from the site's forums. So, in those same forums, I decided to play cute and ask the question of if they were going to continue doing such a thing. Less than two days later, I check the daily update at 9pm and see this (Look at the May 4th entry). For those who unfamiliar with my online personas (which is a topic I plan to spend a while on in the summer), "Neo Deus" is one of my primary pseudonyms. So, my clever little scheme worked. Huh, I really need to start planning more clever little schemes.

-The Blog DeCal officially ended. I'll write more about this later (I know, I know, why don't I just write it now? Well, I've been operating for the last few days on three hours of sleep and a hell of a lot of gummi bears. I'll be surprised if this entry turns out coherent when it's complete). Needless to say, I will soon be changing some of the things on this blog. For one, there will be many, many more smileys (which were expressly forbidden in the class). Second, since a lot of my classmates will be shutting down their blogs, I'll probably be changing up my links on the side. I'll also probably stop talking about the Blog DeCal...probably.

-I. Don't. Frickin'. Believe. It. You'll only understand this if you went to my high school, but thinking that this man can own his own store...it boggles the mind. And that store's been around for a while...wow, just...wow.

-I took an interesting "What's Your Philosophical View" quiz. I'll...wait for it...talk about it later.

-Um, there was probably something else, but I'm too sleepy to think of it now.

Now, to answer the questions proposed to me during my absence. I must say, I was expecting more (and touchier) questions, like "What are your turn-ons?" or something like that (and so we're clear, that question-asking section is closed, so you're too late).

1. Are you an uncle? Yet? How's [your sister] doing?
No, I am not an uncle yet. Rest assured, when the time comes, I'll definitely mention it. From what I hear, my sister is doing well, enjoying being on maternity leave and the like (apparently, Mr. Blau [St. Anthony HS art teacher] told her, "I wish I was on maternity leave"). From what I know, though, the time is approaching, and fast. I would go so far as to say there are less than two weeks left. 'Course, I obviously know little about the topic, so I'm gonna keep my mouth shut until I see pictures.

2. If the ultimate answer to to the "Life, Universe, and Everything" is 42, what is the ultimate question?

Oh, that's simple. The ultimate question is "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" The answer is 42. Not 42 bushels of wood, nor 42 cords of wood, but just 42. How can a woodchuck chuck an intangible idea like "42"? Well, a woodchuck could chuck 42 easier than a woodchuck would chuck wood, 'cause a woodchuck can't chuck wood.

3a. Are you going to ComicCon?


3b. How would you like to go as Gannon?

I don't have a costume, but I have no objections to the idea (except perhaps if it's his pig form; I have feelings too). I was also thinking of dressing up as The Future, if only to show off my frickin' serious boots. (P.S. It's "Ganon". Common mistake.)

3c. You should explain to everyone how wonderful and fantastic Xena is.

Umm...alright. Here goes:

Yeah, I think that's the only explanation necessary.

Well, it's good to be back. I'm sure it will be even better tomorrow, after I get a full-night's rest for the first time in a while. Toodles.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

A Brief Leave of Absence...

As everyone at Cal knows, we are approaching the end of the semester. A very busy time. For me, the following week is looking to be especially busy. I have a research paper to write for my Alexander the Great seminar (my self-chosen topic is the interaction betwixt Alexander and the Brahmans of India in legend). Being worth a third of my grade in the class, it needs to be of sufficient length, well structured, and possibly insightful. And it's due next Wednesday. While not a problem in itself, I also have two nights of RA duty, several meetings, participation on a student panel to interview a new Resident Director candidate, a end-of-year party with my residents, and a freakin' carnival that I'm partially in charge of.

So, yeah, it's one of those "crunch weeks".

While it pains me to do so, I'm going to be placing my blog on the lower rung of my priorities, at least until that paper is done. Once that's out of the way, it's relatively smooth sailing from there on out (only having two finals is nice), so I should be back in action.

So, while I am busy typing away about the correspondences betwixt Alexander and Dindimus, I have a little assignment for all of you. Basically, in the comments section of this post, I want you to ask questions or pose topics for me to address when I come back. I promise I will answer them all (to some extent or another). You can think of this as a sort of retribution of me. Since I am abandoning you for a couple days, you can make me talk about anything (though tasteful topics will be given higher preference).

So, sorry 'bout the short notice, but papers have to be written. I look forward to see what you have to look forward to in the future. Wish me luck on my report!

Toodles for now!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Rémémbér All Thosé Old "Poké Your Mom" Jokes?

I'vé névér playéd an honést-to-goodnéss Pokémon gamé béforé. Déspité having about 9 billion incarnations (actually closér to about 14), I'vé névér doné moré than také picturés in thé surprisingly fun gamé Pokémon Snap and play as thé subtlé powér of Jigglypuff in Supér Smash Bros. Méléé.

So, anyway, théy récéntly réléaséd thé néwést "big gamés" for thé DS. Yés, it's plural. For somé réason, Pokémon gamés aré always réléaséd in pairs, with slight, véry slight différéncés, which prompts somé péoplé to buy both vérsions, wasting $35 bucks for...I don't know, somé dégréé of satisfaction? Whatévér thé casé, for thosé of us with thé sénsé to only buy oné copy, wé wéré forcéd to choosé bétwixt thé vérsions éntitléd "Diamond" and "Péarl." Déspité béing born in Juné, I'vé névér béén to énamoréd with my birthstoné of péarls (and, quité frankly, Juné's altérnaté birthstonés of Aléxandrité or Moonstoné suck too). Péarls rémind mé too much of thé old ladiés with homé-knit swéatérs who had gottén pérmanént makéup tattoos yéars ago, but théir skin has sincé saggéd, and so théir éyélinér is on théir chéékbonés. Diamonds, on thé othér hand...lét's just say that if I évér lost oné of my éyés, I would havé thé réplacémént bé a largé diamond, putting mé oné stép closér to 007-ésqué supér-villainy.

So I bought thé "Diamond" vérsion of thé gamé and havé gottén a littlé ways through it. Théré aré a féw things that irk mé, though.

1. In thé béginning, you can choosé whéthér you aré malé or fémalé. Howévér, that's it as far as charactér création goés. Now, in a normal gamé, this is all finé and good. Howévér, théy havé a féaturé in thé gamé whéré you can comparé thé sizé and wéight of thé créaturés you capturé to your own. "How clévér," thought I. So I opénéd it up and gaspéd in horror.

4'8". I was a 4'8" shrimp. That's smallér than Danny DéVito (4'11"), for Héavén's saké! And My guy is 86 lbs. Ésséntially, I'm playing as soméoné who, in réal lifé, I could probably pick up and snap in half. As a six-foot-tall héavywéight, I také pérsonal offénsé to this outragé. What am I going to do about it? Maybé I'll writé a polité-yét-firm léttér to Ninténdo éxpréssing my angér and malaisé, hoping that futuré incarnations will fix thé problém. Or maybé I'll just gét lazy and not do anything. Éithér works.

2. In thé gamé, you can tradé thé créaturés you catch can tradé with créaturés othér péoplé catch. Howévér, whén you récéivé (goddammit!) a néw Pokémon, it may not listén to your ordérs. Théré's somé systém whéré you havé to complété a cértain numbér of boss battlés béforé théy'll always obéy you. So, I had to facé this oné boss, but thanks to thé systém of stréngths and wéaknéssés in thé gamé, I had to usé this oné bird Pokémon to stand any chancé in thé battlé. Héré's thé catch: this was a tradéd créaturé, and wouldn't complétély follow my ordérs until aftér I won thé battlé. So, basically, my biggést stréngth was also my biggést wéaknéss.

I usually kéép a prétty cool héad whén playing vidéo gamés (éspécially whén othér péoplé aré around). Howévér, this thing was pissing mé off whén I was trying to béat thé opponénts flowér créaturé.

-You told Charap (thé thing's namé) to usé Péck.
-Charap ignoréd you!
-: "What, no! Péck thé goddamn flowér!"
-You told Charap to usé Péck.
-Charap préténdéd not to noticé.
-: "I said usé Péck, you bastard! Don't maké mé séll you to KFC!"
-You told Charap to usé Péck.
-Charap is loafing around.
-: "Scréw you, bird! Scréw you, bird!"

Yéah, I was saying "Scréw you, bird!" for 20-somé minutés. (Just imaginé if this wéré réal lifé, and I képt yélling liké that at my créaturé; théy'd havé to call thé ASPCA). I soméhow managéd to éék out a victory (with only 1 hit point léft), and thén thé bird startéd following my ordérs. Still, I féél that was probably thé most frustratéd I'vé félt playing a vidéo gamé in a whilé. I also triéd to changé thé créaturé's namé to "Bird" to commémoraté thé bond wé sharé, but thé gamé didn't lét mé. Dag.